DREAM and K-1 powerhouse Melvin “No Mercy” Manhoef has signed a multi-year agreement to compete for world championship mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion STRIKEFORCE.
The 33 year old, who hails from Amsterdam, Netherlands, comes to STRIKEFORCE after reaching the semifinal round of the 2008 DREAM Middleweight (185 pounds) Grand Prix tournament by scoring first round TKOs on Dae Won Kim and legendary champion Kazushi Sakuraba on May 11, 2008 and June 15, 2008 respectfully.
His well-known battle cry “When I fight, I am willing to die” has translated into Manhoef’s explosive style of fighting, one that has helped him earn 22 of his 30 career MMA wins and 27 of his 45 career kickboxing victories by way of knockout.
On February 26, 2005, Manhoef initiated his best run to date, a 10 fight win streak in MMA competition, by stopping Matthias Riccio at Cage Rage 10 in London, England with a series of strikes in the first round (3:01).
Amongst his victims during this stretch were Ian “The Machine” Freeman and Crosley Gracie, both of whom Manhoef stopped in the first round with strikes. Manhoef was crowned Cage Rage champion on September 10, 2005 after scoring a 51 second knockout with punches on Brazil’s Fabio Piamonte in London.
Asked on short notice to serve as a replacement in a heavyweight matchup with knockout artist Mark Hunt at the annual New Year’s Eve “Dynamite” extravaganza in Saitama, Japan last year, Manhoef obliged and, despite being at a tremendous weight disadvantage, crushed the Samoan fighter with an onslaught of punches a mere 18 seconds after the opening bell rang.
Manhoef’s career in K-1, the world’s premiere stand-up fighting league, dates back to February 24, 2002. During his tenure with the Japanese promotion, he has triumphed over the likes of former K-1 tournament champions Stefan Leko and Ruslan Karaev, whom Manhoef crushed with a left hook only 31 seconds into their meeting in Amsterdam on June 23, 2007.
Born in Suriname, Manhoef relocated to Rotterdam with his family when he was three years old. He was introduced to the sport of Muay Thai by his brother and, at age 18, won his first bout.