Dream’s official website is reporting that K-1 veteran, Jerome Le Banner is pulling out of his scheduled match up with Mark Hunt due to the flu. Stepping into the MMA rules fight will be middleweight, Melvin Manhoef.
Manhoef last donned his MMA gloves as a participant in Dream’s Middleweight Grand Prix back in September. After violently dispatching Pride veteran and Japanese fan favorite, Kazushi Sakuraba, he was defeated via triangle choke by the eventual champion, Gegard Mousasi.
After his defeat, rumors circulated that the Dutch muay thai fighter had retired. German website groundandpound.de reported that Manhoef was retiring to spend more time with his family. This will be his first fight since the announcement. The former Cage Rage light heavyweight champion, who normally competes at middleweight, will be at a tremendous size disadvantage when he takes on Hunt.
Pride veteran, Mark Hunt had been on a five fight win streak before dropping three straight fights. In his most recent outing he was submitted by Alistair Overeem in a little over a minute. The super heavyweight has twice fought against significantly smaller fighters. Wanderlei Silva took Hunt to a split decision, and former Japanese pro boxer, Yosuke Nishijima was surprisingly competitive before being knocked out in the third round.
Dream should be applauded for putting together such a compelling match up with so little time before the card.