Friday night will mark the return of “The Rhino” as Doug Marshall comes back to the Bellator cage as he will meet Melvin Manhoef in the main event of Bellator 125 from the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California.
This fight will mark the first time that Marshall steps into the cage since losing to middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko last year and his climb back to a title shot begins against Manhoef.
Since making his Bellator debut in 2012, Marshall has brought fun and exciting fights to the cage, which is exactly what new Bellator President Scott Coker is looking for. Along with having an exciting style that fans want to watch, Marshall also knows how to sell a fight.
Prior to one of his fights, he made it clear that he came to Bellator for one reason and that was to knock people out, which he has done that as three of his four wins in the promotion have come by knockout in the first round. On Friday night, he meets another knockout specialist in Manhoef, who Marshall states is just another opponent holding his money.
“Basically, Melvin Manhoef is just another motherf***er holding my money,” Marshall said. “I gotta come across that cage with a full head of steam and take my money. Where I come from, you have to earn respect … you don’t just automatically get it. I’m looking to knock his ass out.”
“Everyone is asking me if I’m really aware that Manhoef can bang on the feet. Ummm … is he really aware that I can bang on the feet? You better call that guy and tell him, ‘Oh, hey, I hope you’re taking The Rhino seriously because he’s almost killed three of his last five opponents.’ Brother, there’s no holding back with me.”
“If he was, like, a five-time Jiu-Jitsu world champion? Then yeah, I might have to brush up on some particulars. But I really really believe this is a great match-up for me. We’ve both fought a lot of tough guys and we’ve both knocked out a lot of tough guys. I can tell you this – someone’s getting knocked the f**k out in this fight.”
Between Marshall and Manhoef, they have combined for 38 career wins by knockout in mixed martial arts competition and this could be the last title run for both fighters. While both have power to end the fight at any moment, Marshall believes there is a difference in their knockout powers.
“We both possess knockout power, but here’s the difference: when it comes down to one-shot knockout power, I got him,” Marshall said. “I’ve seen him put some great flurries together and mount some accumulative damage, and he kicks like a f***ing mule. But so do I. And I’ve proven that recently. After this fight, everyone is going to respect The Rhino’s striking. If this is ‘the dude’ right here? If this is ‘the guy?’ Then I’m about to be that guy.”
“Honestly, I think Manhoef gets loose. That dude gets loose and wild, and that can be his downfall. At the end of the day, this is an MMA fight and I’ll do whatever I have to do to finish this motherf***er, and get my money. And now, with the format the way it is, maybe I’ll get my title shot. And hopefully that goddamn Russian is still holding the belt so I can go slap the s**t out of that guy.”
In his three knockout wins in Bellator, Marshall has ended the fight quickly and violent and as he states, it only takes one of his fist to land to end the night for his opponent and the referee to call the fight.
“The bottom line is this: it only takes one of these bad motherf***ers I throw and you’re going to sleep,” Marshall said. “Just one. I just gotta find a home for one of ‘em. If he doesn’t respect that and he thinks he’s gonna walk through me? Then it’s gonna be a really easy night for me.”
“I’m coming for that title man! With the new format being the way it is, I can get that call for a title shot because I’m a former tournament winner. I can get that call for that gold, and that’s what I’m looking for. I’m looking to get into the history books; into the pages of MMA greatness. And to do that, I need to get that 185-pound belt.”
“I’ve got championship gold at heavyweight, I’ve got championship gold at 205 and now I need to get it at 185. And beating a guy like Melvin Manhoef is what will get me there. They’ll be like, ‘OK, we need to get this dude another shot at the title. This guy is like the 4th of July balled into a human being – you never know what the fuck’s gonna happen with The Rhino.’ I’m a ticking time-bomb just waiting to go off.”