Manhoef Replaces Rockhold; Faces Kennedy Mar. 5th

Thursday, February 10, 2011

By FCF Staff

Due to the continued injury woes of rising middleweight Luke Rockhold, Strikeforce has confirmed that punishing striker Melvin Manhoef will face contender Tim Kennedy, at the promotion’s upcoming March 5th event in Columbus, Ohio. Rockhold was forced to withdraw from the bout due to leg injury he incurred in training last week.

“Man, this is beyond really disappointing,’’ said Rockhold, who was unable to fight Matt Lindland in October because of a shoulder injury. “I’d been feeling great and working hard and was really pumped for the fight with Kennedy.

“I know injuries are part of the game, but I want to fight. That’s what I do. It’s pretty swollen now, but once my leg is 100 percent I’m coming back with a vengeance.’’

Manhoef (24-8-1) will look to get back on track after dropping back-to-back bouts to Robbie Lawler and most recently, Tatsuya Mizuno. The Dutch fighter’s last win came at K-1’s 2009 Dynamite event, when he stopped Japanese middleweight Kazuo Misaki.

“I come to fight and give my very best,’’ the 5-foot-8, 34-year-old Manhoef said. “I am very, very hungry. I need to win this fight. I am looking forward to fighting Tim Kennedy.’’

Kennedy (12-3) will fight for the first time since losing by unanimous decision to current middleweight champ, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza last August. The loss was Kennedy’s first since 2007 and ended the decorated American soldier’s four fight winning streak, which included wins over UFC vets Trevor Prangley and Nick Thompson.

The March 5th, Strikeforce card will be hosted by the Nationwide Arena in Columbus and will be broadcast on Showtime. A light-heavyweight tilt between champion Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante and Dan Henderson will headline the event.