Strikeforce: Melvin Manhoef vs. Robbie Lawler Prediction

185 lbs: Melvin Manhoef vs. Robbie Lawler

Odds: (-200 Manhoef /+160 Lawler )

The second bout of the evening is an epic slugest in the making, pitting long-time veteran “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler against Dutch powerhouse “Marvelous” Melvin Manhoef.  Lawler is an experienced veteran with knockout power and an underrated ground game, but Manhoef also has a lot of experience and packs a ridiculous amount of power into his punches, so this is the kind of fight where you need to do your best not to blink.

Robbie Lawler, over his long and successful career, has developed a reputation as an extremely dangerous striker.  One of the original Miletich fighters, now training at Matt Hughes’ HIT Squad, Lawler also has a decent, and very underrated, takedown game.  That is going to be the most important thing for him in this fight.  Obviously, Lawler has the ability to finish most fighters on the feet, but he has also been outstruck more than once by strikers with a lot less technique and power than Manhoef.  If he wants to survive, he is going to have to dust off some of the less-used parts of his skill set, especially takedowns, top control, and ground and pound.

Manhoef, a Dutch wrecking machine, is easily one of the most devastating strikers in the sport, at any weight.  In a recent fight, he knocked out granite-chinned K1 World Grand Prix champion Mark Hunt, a massive, notoriously hard to finish Heavyweight, in a mere 18 seconds.  It would almost be impossible to overstate Manhoef’s striking prowess.  The other side of that coin, though, is that it would almost be impossible to understate his ground game, which pretty much doesn’t exist.  His idea of takedown defense is to knock a guy out before they go for a takedown, and once he is on the ground he is a complete fish out of water.

This fight is going to be decided by Lawler’s game plan, and how much he lets his natural tendency to stand and trade shots overcome his better judgment.  Lawler is an excellent striker in his own right, but make no mistake, if he stands with Manhoef he is going to get destroyed.  Lawler has the ability to take Manhoef down, control him, and win this fight fairly easily; the question is whether or not he is going to.  Based on most of his career, I would guess that Lawler will get sucked into a kickboxing match, where he will be overwhelmed within one round by Manhoef’s superior striking and power.

Fight Prediction: Melvin Manhoef via second round T/KO.

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