|venue: 3 Arena, Dublin date: Friday, September 23rd|
|coverage: Live on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport websites and apps from 18:00 BST, main card also live on BBC Three from 21:00 BST|
Melvin Manhoef was in Paris promoting his next match against Yoel Romero when he heard some disturbing news – a man may be planning a robbery at his house.
His wife and children found a piece of paper stamped under the front door of his house in Holland.
After his family checked the footage on neighborhood cameras, they found a man they didn’t recognize laying down a paper and a car they’d never seen before.
Manuf immediately went home.
“At that moment my wife and children didn’t feel safe because they didn’t know what was going to happen. I came back from Paris because I was scared for them,” Manouf, 46, told BBC Sport. rice field.
After arriving home, Manuf decides to wait outside in the car while his family is out.
Over an hour later, three men showed up in the car Manouf had seen on camera footage. They found Manuf and drove off.
Manouf chased them, rammed the car into the road, and arrested all three men before the police arrived.
“What I did was very dangerous, but I did what I had to do to protect my family,” he said.
“I yelled out of the car, said madly ‘my family’ and all that, walked up to their car, threw a punch out the window and opened my hands all over.
“I got the guys. I screamed and pulled them out. I didn’t hit them, but I had to say it. I was crazy.” .”
Manhoof said he drove “around 120km/h” through a residential area to catch the man.
He has not been charged in an incident that occurred in March.
“We know there are risks [to speed] But it was to protect his family. Not good, but adrenaline takes over. This is who I am and I want to protect my family.”
“I told them [while he waited for the police to arrive] Listen, do something with your life, but stop this, man. don’t steal from people I know life is hard but please don’t do this. ”
Maneuf injured his hand after crashing through a car window and the match with Romero was postponed.
The rescheduled light heavyweight fight will be the 51st and final bout of Manhoof’s 27-year MMA career and will take place on Friday at Bellator 285 in Dublin.
“It’s an honor to fight Romero.”
Since his debut in 1995, Maneuf has won 32, lost 15, drawn 1 and is undefeated in 2 matches.
His last was a loss against Corey Anderson in 2020.
Manhoef has gone through many changes throughout his career in MMA. In MMA, the sport and its athletes, once marginalized in most parts of the world, are now thriving.
Manuf is still grateful that he was able to turn his passion for fighting into his own profession.
“The funny thing is that I get paid better now. It was lower back then,” he said.
“Sport is really embraced now and people see you as a true sportsman.
“Of course you don’t do sports for money, you start as a hobby and then you start working and it becomes a job.
“We put our lives at risk and do a lot. This year I broke my jaw, broke my thumb and tore my shin…
“It’s my passion, so I’m very happy to turn my passion into a job.”
In Romero, Cuba, Manuf will face an opponent who is a veteran of the sport like himself.
Romero, 45, is a former UFC middleweight title challenger who made his debut in 2009 after coming from a wrestling background.
his last battle Big win over Alex Polizzi May at Bellator 280 in Paris.
“Offal [Romero] One of the greatest fighters I’ve fought,” Manhoef said.
“He’s also a man who’s done a lot in sports, especially in wrestling. It’s a huge honor to be able to fight him.”
“We can do our thing and find out who is the best, which is the most interesting thing for fighters, because that is what you want to know. You want to be the best, so you have to fight the best. it won’t.”