Belltor MMA announced the fourth promising fight to the main card of Bellator 131 during Friday’s Bellator 127 telecast. The veteran Melvin Manhoef (29-11 MMA, 37-12 Kickboxing) has been slated to face Joe Schilling (1-3 MMA, 17-7 Kickboxing) to join the arguably biggest card of the year for Bellator MMA on November 15th. Melvin Mahoef’s fighting credentials trump any need for introduction, but of all the middleweights he could have faced in the Bellator cage, why has he been set to face a fighter making his Bellator Debut?
Joe Schilling may not be known for his MMA accomplishments, but he is looking for a chance to impress the Bellator audience on November 15th in a big way.
“My name is Joe Schilling. You might not know it today but you will very soon. I’m one if the best strikers on the planet, and if you want to see people got laid the hell out, just watch me fight on November 15th.”
Joe Schilling is rated the #1 middleweight in Glory kickboxing. He handed Artem Levin (84-6) his only Glory loss in his Glory 10 debut, taking a huge upset win over the Russian kickboxer. Pinning him against Melvin Manhoef, who has a 37-12 record in kickboxing, makes for what could easily be the best stand-and-battle fight of the main card.
While his MMA record of 1-3 seems to disqualify him of such a high profile opponent in the Bellator arena, he claimed in today’s interview on the MMA Hour that it isn’t the best representation of him as a fighter. His MMA bouts were taken on very short notice, often with last-minute opponent changes to make maters worse. He also claimed in the interview to be training with both Nick and Nate Diaz in training camp preparation for his Bellator Debut. Taking pointers from some of the best in MMA will certainly give him a huge edge for his his future career, which has amounted to a 4-fight contract deal with Bellator MMA.
On the matchup, Bellator MMA president Scott Coker stated:
“I’ve said since the day I began my career in combat sports that styles make fights,” Coker said. “I came to Bellator to create the most compelling fights possible, and Manhoef vs. Schilling has the chance to be fight of the night on November 15th. When you put together guys like Manhoef and Schilling, records sort of go out the window. You know when that cage door shuts, these two guys are going to stand up and engage in what should be an insanely entertaining fight. We’ve just added this fight to a card that already features Tito and Bonnar, Chandler and Brooks, and Mo and DeBlass. November 15th is going to be a very fun night, and we’ve got more coming.”
Melvin Manhoef and Joe Schilling’s MMA records are nowhere near commensurate, but their fighting styles certainly are. Manhoef may be a knockout expert, but it will be exciting to see if he can execute with the same ability against the kickboxing skills of the #1 middleweight in Glory. This matchup also begs the question of further cross-promotion options for Bellator fighters and Glory kickboxers. If Schilling is able to make a big statement with a win over Manhoef, who knows which Glory kickboxers might try their hand in the Bellator arena?