Melvin Manhoef Says MMA Is His Priority, Expects Epic Fight with Tim Kennedy

By Mike Chiappetta

After years of constant back and forth shuttling between mixed martial arts and kickboxing, Dutch striking powerhouse Melvin Manhoef is committed solely to MMA in 2011. His year kicks off at March 5’s Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson event, when he takes on former No. 1 middleweight contender Tim Kennedy.

Speaking on a teleconference, the 34-year-old Manhoef said while he was not retiring from kickboxing, he would shelve his pursuits in that sport for the foreseeable future while working to round out his MMA game, which has been criticized for holes in his ground defense.

“I’ve made small changes, more on the ground,” he said. “In past fights, I was always trying to bang and knock somebody out, but [now] I give more time to my [Brazilian jiu-jitsu], my wrestling. All the things changed.”

Manhoef explained that usually when he spends time trying to improve one discipline — jiu jitsu, for example — it comes at the expense of training time for his striking.


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