Melvin Manhoef earned his 28th career knockout with a first-round finish of Hisaki Kato at Bellator 146 in Thackerville, Okla. on Friday evening.
After dealing with a series of strikes against the cage, Manhoef landed a flash left hand that sent Kato falling to the floor. The stoppage came at 3:43 of Round 1.
Kato forced the issue against Manhoef, engaging in a punching war against the world-renowned striker. At times, Kato pressured his opponent and landed a number of strikes while Manhoef looked to counter.
After dealing with a series of strikes while covering up against the cage, Manhoef threw a left hook that perfectly connected with Kato’s chin. The strike sent the karate expert crumbling to the mat in a daze, and referee John McCarthy stepped in immediately to bring a stop to the contest.
With the win, Manhoef collects his 30th victory overall, his first since September of 2014.
In the co-main event, Brandon Girtz needed only 37 seconds to make an impact on his opponent, Derek Campos, winning with a vicious knockout in the first round.
Girtz came swinging in the pocket with right hands, landing two of them on Campos before the latter fighter fell to the ground. Girtz then finished his opponent with strikes as his opponent laid on the canvas.
Girtz picks up his third win in a row, one of which is a victory over former UFC contender Melvin Guillard.
Earlier main card winners included Bubba Jenkins, Chidi Njokuani and Guilherme Vianna. Jenkins earned a split decision, while Njokuani got the unanimous nod. Viana beat down Houston Alexander for two rounds before the ringside doctor called the match due to a cut at 5:00 of Round 2.
Image courtesy of Bellator MMA.