Yoel Romero made sure Melvin Manhoef didn’t get his happy ending.
The “Soldier of God” scored a devastating third-round knockout of Manhoef on Friday in the co-main event of Bellator 285, which took place at the 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland.
After a measured first two rounds, Romero (15-6) stepped up his activity in the third round, knocking down his 46-year-old opponent along the fence and then hitting him hard with punches and elbows, causing Manhoef to pass out on the mat. The official stoppage time is 3:34 of the final round. Manhoef then announced his retirement from MMA.
See Romero’s finish replay above.
Yoel Romero puts Melvin Manhoef to sleep with brutal downward elbow strikes #Bellator285!
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) September 23, 2022
“I didn’t want to fight anyone,” Manhoef said after the fight, before removing his gloves and placing them in the center of the cage. “I wanted to fight names and I did my best. I’ve been doing this for 28 years now, it’s what I love and I appreciate all the support you’ve given me. But today, I think I should hang up my gloves after 28 years of fighting. Thank you for your support, you make my life wonderful, you make me feel alive.”
Manhoef retires with a 32-16-1 MMA record marked by knockout victories over Mark Hunt, Kazushi Sakuraba, Kazuo Misaki and more. He made his MMA debut in 1995.