Alexander Shlemenko is confident he’s leaving Bellator 88 as the new middleweight champion and plans to end the fight like he has done countless times before, via knockout.
“I will do everything to finish him by KO,” said Shlemenko to MMA Junkie. “He will do everything for this fight to go to a judges’ decision. I think I have the power and technique to KO anybody in the fight game, not just Falcao.”
Of Shlemenko’s 46 career wins, 27 have come by knockout. He earned his championship spot by submission, TKO and decision in the Season 5 tournament. The Russian is 7-1 for Bellator, with only three of those fights gong to the judges’ scorecard, including his sole loss for the promotion. Since winning the tournament in 2011, Shlemenko has stayed active with three straight wins out of his home country.
After one UFC appearance, Maiquel Falcão joined Bellator. He won the Season 6 tournament by means of decision in all three encounters. He has not competed since he won the tournament in May of last year.
Hector Lombard vacated the championship when he signed with the UFC in April 2012.
Shlemenko vs. Falcão for the vacant title headlines Bellator 88 from Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, GA. The show is February 7 and can be seen on Spike TV at 10 p.m. ET.