Tim Kennedy was on record saying that he was looking for someone to fight him, not "counter-punch their way to a five round decision like Jacare did". Well, he got his wish tonight. Manhoef, one of the top strikers at middleweight, landed a couple of deadly kicks, but pretty soon it was on the ground and Melvin was tapping to a rear naked choke at 3:41 of the first round.
A couple of kicks started things off, before Kennedy shot 30 seconds in. Manhoef surprisingly fought it off and they reset in the middle. Kennedy landed a nice front kick to the chest. Kennedy then whiffed on a right and had another shot stuffed. Manhoef missed a kick, but showed patience with his striking. Manhoef caught a Kennedy kick, and landed a counter right that backed up Kennedy.
Melvin then landed a huge leg kick that chopped Kennedy down, but he popped right back up, only to eat another. Another shot was initially stuffed, but Kennedy persisted and finally gets Manhoef down with 2:25 to go. Kennedy fell right into side control, and went straight to mount after only 12 seconds on the ground. Manhoef rolled over, and Kennedy threw some big shots to the side of the head. Referee Mike Matheny warned for back of the head strikes, but immediately Kennedy slapped on a rear naked choke. Melvin couldn't fight it off and tapped out.
Kennedy (13-3, 4-1 SF) was looking to rebound after dropping the mentioned decision to Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza in a Strikeforce Middleweight title fight in August. With the win, Kennedy remains in contention for a rematch with Jacare, although a third fight with Jason "Mayhem" Miller is a possibility as well. Manhoef (24-9-1, 0-2 SF) has now dropped three fights in a row, after earlier losses to Tatsuya Mizuno at Dream 15 and Robbie Lawler at Strikeforce: Miami. His future with Strikeforce going forward is unclear.