K-1 wrecking machine and mixed martial arts (MMA) veteran, Melvin Manhoef, is once again set to put his all-around skills to the test when he collides with Brazilian jiu-jitsu phenom, Paulo Filho, at DREAM 10 from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, on July 20.
The Japanese-based promotion made the announcement earlier this morning, which is about the biggest "clash of styles"-type fight imaginable.
Manhoef most recently scored a technical knockout win over Stefan Leko during the kickboxing extravaganza dubbed, "It’s Showtime 2009" that took place at the Amsterdam Arena in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on May 16.
As usual, "No Mercy" was looking for the kill throughout the bout; however, Leko was able to stay out of harms way, dodging most of the attacks and firing off some counterstrike combinations to frustrate Manhoef. And it appeared as if Leko was cruising to a decision win when early in the third round he sustained a fight-ending injury to his foot that halted the bout gave Manhoef the victory.
Manhoef last competed in an MMA match against "Super Samoan" Mark Hunt during the stacked New Year’s Eve Fields Dynamite!! card at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan on Dec. 31, 2008. Despite being at a huge size advantage, as well as taking the fight on literally a few days notice, Manhoef needed just 18 seconds to dispatch of the granite-chinned heavyweight.
Prior to that win, Manhoef was ousted from the 2008 DREAM Middleweight Grand Prix by eventual tournament winner, Gegard Mousasi, via first round submission (triangle choke). Accordingly, he’ll need to be on his toes when he steps inside the ring against a superior ground specialist like Filho.
Filho — the last man to hold the World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) middleweight title (albeit under bizarre circumstances) — has not competed since being cut by the Zuffa-owned organization following his unanimous decision loss to Chael Sonnen in Nov. 2008.
He signed with the WEC in 2007 with an undefeated record (14-0) and a reputation as one of the top 185 pounders in the world. However, his status among the elite in the category quickly diminished because of depression and substance abuse issues outside the cage that affected his performance inside it.
Nonetheless, Filho holds career wins over Kazuo Misaki, Ninja Rua, Ryo Chonon, Yuki Kondo and plenty of other world class caliber fighters. The talent and skill set is there, but he’ll need to slay his personal demons before fight night if he hasn’t already … Manhoef is capable of hurting him real bad if he isn’t at or near the top of his game.
Dream 10 features the conclusion of the promotion’s welterweight grand prix tournament, which was created in a bid to crown a 168-pound champion, as well as lightweight champion Shinya Aoki putting his strap on the line against Vitor "Shaolin" Riberio – not 2008 DREAM Lightweight Grand Prix winner, Joachim Hansen, as previously reported.
Here is the current line-up for DREAM 10:
DREAM Lightweight Title:
Shinya Aoki (20-4) vs. Vitor "Shaolin" Riberio
Welterweight Grand Prix Semifinals:
Andre Galvao (3-0) vs. Jason High (7-1)
Hayato Sakurai (35-8-2) vs. Marius Zaromskis (9-2)
Welterweight Grand Prix Final:
Andre Galvao (3-0) or Jason High (7-1) vs. Hayato Sakurai (35-8-2) or Marius Zaromskis (9-2)
Andre Amade (6-3) vs. Katsunori Kikuno (11-1)
Melvin Manhoef vs. Paulo Filho
That’s it for now. Look for more fights to be added as we get closer to July 20. For more on DREAM click here.