Live on @CBSSportsNet pic.twitter.com/CVEloDON6s — Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) October 7, 2020
The upcoming Bellator Paris card has just lost some of its most important protagonists.
Fans attending Bellator 248 won't see Dutch kickboxer Melvin Manhoef in action. On Wednesday morning, Dutch combat sports personality Santiago first reported that Manhoef is out of his light heavyweight clash with Simon Biyong (7-1). Sherdog independently confirmed the report.
Moments later, Bellator revealed that Manhoef would instead welcome Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Corey Anderson to the promotion on Nov. 5.
Anderson recently signed with the outfit after assembling a UFC record of 10-5. "Overtime" is Sherdog's No. 5-ranked light heavyweight.
After coming short of capturing Rafael Carvalho's 185-pound championship on back-to-back occasions, Manhoef (32-14-1, 1 NC) bounced back by edging Kent Kauppinen at Bellator 223. In his latest cage appearance, the 44-year-old fighter overcame Yannick Bahati thanks to a first-round TKO victory at Bellator 230. At the end of that fight, “No Mercy” was non-committal regarding his fighting future. Still, it seems that he has found the motivation to keep going.
The card also lost a scheduled bout between Bellator newcomers Davy Gallon (18-7-2) and Brian Hooi (16-8) Wednesday morning. The pair should have met in a 158-pound catchweight tussle. Hooi took to Instagram to announce that he tested positive for COVID-19.
“My fight in Paris has officially been canceled due to a shockingly sudden positive corona test on my end,” Hooi wrote. “I have no symptoms at all, I am in striking distance of making weight and have never felt any better and stronger than right now. I am the only one in my team who tested positive, despite the fact that everyone else from my team got tested negative while they were constantly in my company during the last few weeks.”
Bellator 248 will go down at the Accor Arena in Paris, France, on Oct. 10. The card will be headlined by a 175-pound catchweight between Michael Page (17-1) and former Cage Warriors Fighting Championship king Ross Houston (8-0, 1 NC). In the co-main event, UFC vet Oliver Enkamp (9-2) will lock horns with France's Emmanuel Dawa (9-3) in a welterweight affair. The card will also feature the rematch between Cheick Kongo (30-10-2, 1 NC) and Timothy Johnson (14-6) at heavyweight.
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My fight in Paris has officially been canceled due to a shockingly sudden positive corona test on my end. I have NO SYMPTOMS at all, I am in striking distance of making weight and have never felt any better and stronger than right now. I am the only one in my team who tested positive, despite the fact that everyone else from my team got tested negative while they were constantly in my company during the last few weeks. @bellatormma had a very strict protocol on the matter so there is absolutely no blame at all towards them, they followed every guideline and precautionary measurements. I’m gonna run some more tests untill I am totally cleared again, as I said. I have absolutely ZERO symptoms and I am perfectly fine. There have been people who tested positive before and negative on their following tests, so how accurate are these tests initially? Just a minor roadblock, we’ll be back in no time so no biggie #kapotmaken
This item was updated at 5:48 p.m. ET on Oct. 7, 2020 to add information on the revised matchup between Manhoef and Anderson.