Corey Anderson wasted little time in his Bellator MMA debut. In light-heavyweight action, he disposed of an aging combat sports veteran, Melvin Manhoef in the second-round with a TKO due to a ground and pound attack. That performance not only impressed the onlookers and judges at a tranquil Mohegan Sun Arena but the promotion’s president, Scott Coker.
Anderson took advantage of his grappling strengths by securing takedowns and utilizing his ground and pound. Referee Todd Anderson immediately called the fight midway through the second round. After a dominant performance over a man who’s had 50 fights in his career that include 29 knockouts, Anderson boosted his record to 14-5 in his MMA career.
Following the fight, Anderson already felt he had made his presence felt and known enough to call for a title shot in the division.
“Whoever’s fighting for the title, I want the winner,” Anderson said. “Whoever’s got that strap, come see me.”
Bellator MMA Light Heavyweight World Champion Vadim Nemkov surely took notice of the newcomer’s words as the 31-year old is demanding a fast track to accomplishing championship glory. Before Anderson’s win over Manhoef, he spoke out about the current situation of his former employer, the UFC. He spoke of concerns about the super fight between defending champion Jan Blachowicz defending his crown against incumbent UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. Anderson feels Adesanya should leave the title shot to someone more deserving of a shot at the title in their own division than one who is just starting his reign at the 185-lb weight class.
“You’ve got [Santos] and Glover [Teixeira] fighting this weekend, which is [No. 1] versus [No. 3], which would be a title contention fight in the UFC,” said Anderson. “But why in the world would you book – the same week that fight is booked, you book [Adesanya] vs. [Blachowicz]. Now that means the winner of this fight next weekend just has to wait, or fight someone else, and the way the UFC works, if you decide to wait, they’re going to try and push somebody in front of you that’s willing to fight one of the top guys. And if you don’t wait, you go out there and fight, you can take the chance of losing as I did against Jan Blachowicz.”
Anderson went on to criticize the UFC’s business calls.
“That’s just the way the cards fall in the UFC. It’s about what’s going to make them the most money. It’s not about what makes the most sense.”
Anderson was one win away from the shot at the title in the UFC before losing by knockout in February earlier this year, as Blachowicz ended up winning the vacant championship. Now that Anderson is in a new environment with a clean slate where all he can focus on is controlling his own destiny by winning fights and moving up the ladder without outside interference to deter him from a fair shake.