Former Dream middleweight fighter Melvin Manhoef has stepped in as a last-minute replacement for Jerome LeBanner. Manhoef will be taking on Mark Hunt on tomorrow night’s “DYNAMITE!! 2008” New Year’s Eve event.
Dream’s official website stated that LeBanner is suffering from flu-like symptoms and will be unable to compete.
Manhoef’s last fight was a quick one, as he was submitted in the semi-finals by the eventual Dream Middleweight Grand Prix winner Gegard Mousasi at Dream.6.
After the bout, the Dutch fighter announced his retirement from MMA fighting.
At the time of his retirement announcement, Manhoef’s spokesman told the media that, “Training seven days a week and three times a day has taken its toll on his family life.”
He started his MMA career in kickboxing where he used his speed, power and athleticism to compile a 34-4 record with 25 victories by knockout. From there he moved to the sport of mixed martial arts where he defeated the likes of Kazushi Sakuraba, Fabio Silva and Evangelista Santos on his way to a 22-5 record.
Hunt, the over-sized heavyweight, will have a significant weight advantage over Manhoef, however the middleweight was still up for the challenge.