As Bellator prepares for a new era under Scott Coker, a pair of new signings should whet the appetite of violence connoisseurs. Former UFC and Strikeforce welterweight Paul Daley is back in Bellator, while longtime kickboxing and MMA veteran Melvin Manhoef also joins the fold. Bellator President Coker had this to say about the signings in today's press release:
"I've said it before and I'll say it again. We want Bellator to be a destination for not only the top-tier fighters in the sport, but the first-choice destination for fans to see the most entertaining fights in the sport," Coker said. "Both Paul and Melvin add a level of excitement to the roster that I can't wait to see inside our cage, and this is just the beginning."
Daley (34-13) fought once before in Bellator, winning by TKO against Rudy Bears back in 2012. He was released from the promotion after ongoing legal troubles in his native England left him unable to compete in the US. The 31-year-old is 4-1 since his Bellator release, with all of his wins coming by KO or TKO. In an interview with The MMA Hour, Daley made it clear that he wants to contend for the title currently held by Douglas Lima.
Manhoef (28-11-1, 1 NC) was last seen in Glory kickboxing's "Last Man Standing" PPV, where the 38-year-old was eliminated in the opening round by Belgium's Filip Verlinden. The 38-year-old's last MMA fight was in April against Evangelista Santos in a rematch of their 2006 classic, getting the TKO finish within a minute. Manhoef has fought everywhere from K-1, Dream, Strikeforce, ONE FC, and KSW. According to the press release, Manhoef will fight in the middleweight division.
Obviously the Daley signing is of greater importance as, with all due respect to Manhoef well into the twilight of his career, "Semtex" has a good shot of fulfilling his own promise of becoming a champion. At a minimum, with the tournament format no longer the backbone of the promotion, it shouldn't take much for Daley to get a few wins and fight Douglas Lima. There are an assortment of fights in Bellator's welterweight division that provide high entertainment value and I think fans of Daley will be excited over this news.