alexander-shlemenko-3.jpgOne of the greatest cliches in MMA is that fighters don’t pay attention to the odds.

But Alexander Shlemenko might not be in that group. He’s seen the odds for his Bellator middleweight title fight against Doug Marshall, and he believes those odds tell the story before it even starts to unfold.

After a hard and close five-round title fight against Brett Cooper in September, the champ wants to put minds at ease – he hasn’t lost any edge. He just had a tough fight.

But the 25 minutes he needed to eke out a 48-47 win over Cooper has some people thinking about Marshall – who knocked out Cooper in the first round in April to win the Season 8 middleweight tournament. An eye injury kept Marshall from getting his shot right away, and Cooper jumped him in line despite the loss.

“My advice to people who think that Doug Marshall will beat me because of my fight with Brett Cooper: Take a look at the betting odds for our fight,” Shlemenko told MMAjunkie. “(The oddsmakers) make money betting on fighters. So they know what they’re doing.”

Shlemenko (48-7 MMA, 9-1 BMMA), who knocked out Maiquel Falcao to win the 185-pound title in February, defends the belt against Marshall (18-6 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) at Bellator 109, which takes place Friday at Sands Event Center in Bethlehem, Pa. The main card will air on Spike TV following prelims on Spike.com.

Shlemenko said because his fight with Cooper was a rematch from one he won in 2011, it made things a little closer. And the fact they were training together prior to Cooper’s run through the tournament was another notch in his favor.

Because while the cliche that fighters don’t pay attention to what the oddsmakers say might not apply to Shlemenko, but the one about fighting friends just might.

“Because Brett Cooper knew me better this time, he had a good knowledge and game plan on how to fight me,” Shlemenko said. “Also, in the first fight I didn’t know him at all. In our second fight, I knew him – I thought of him as a pal. Not a friend, but somebody I know. We trained together and he helped me to prepare for my fights. So it was a bit difficult to fight with him for the second time.

“I didn’t have an off night. It was a good night. I knew ahead of time that fight would be tough because I fought with a friend, and I can’t tune myself to a mood when I am going to kill my opponent. I knew it wouldn’t be a walk in a park.”

The fight against Marshall probably won’t be a walk in the park, either – despite the 3-to-1 odds in the champ’s favor.

Marshall, a former WEC champion, has mostly ripped right through Bellator since signing with the promotion a year ago. Three of his four wins are by knockout, including the opening round of the Season 8 middleweight tournament and the final against Cooper, both coming in the first round. In between, he had a hard-fought split-decision win over Sultan Aliev.

To call Marshall a bit eccentric might be an understatement. Before the Season 8 tournament, he predicted a win and a title shot in the most “Rhino” way he could. He said he planned to unleash “violence. Just pure violence.”

Shlemenko even seems to think his opponent might be a little … out there. Cooper, before they fought, said he was “not the brightest light on the tree.” But Shlemenko cuts right to the chase.

“It’s hard for me to speak about Doug Marshall as a person because I don’t know him,” he said. “He’s a crazy fighter. During a fight, he acts like a mad person. He’s crazy, fast, explosive and unpredictable. I should be prepared for a fury of punches from him. My best assets against Marshall will be my wrestling, my ground game, and most importantly, my experience.”

But he also wants to turn the tables on the American.

“I want to knock Doug Marshall out. Fast,” Shlemenko said. “I will try to KO him. But we’ll see. If the ref would jump in, it will be a TKO. If the ref would hesitate, it will be a KO.

“I plan to keep the belt. Everyone who will try to take it from me will be punished. And fans will see it.”

For more on Bellator 109, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of the site.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Josh Koscheck vs. Mauricio Alonso added to Bellator 172 main card with Piccolotti-Primus canceled

  • 28 days ago
  • 6 views

Next month’s Bellator 172 card has lost a fight but gained two more, including the long-delayed promotional debut of former UFC title challenger Josh Koscheck.Filed under: Bellator, News read news >>

Josh Thomson Faces Patricky 'Pitbull' in Bellator 172 Co-Main Event | MMAWeekly.com

  • 28 days ago
  • 7 views

A lightweight feature bout pitting Josh Thomson (22-8, 1 NC) against Patricky "Pitbull" (16-8) will serve as the co-main event of Bellator 172. read news >>

Josh Koscheck Returns at Bellator 172 Against Mauricio Alonso | MMAWeekly.com

  • 28 days ago
  • 9 views

A welterweight bout pitting Josh Koscheck (17-10) against Mauricio Alonso(12-7, 1 NC) has been added to the main card of Bellator 172: Fedor vs. Mitrione. read news >>

UFC boss Dana White watched Ortiz-Sonnen at Bellator 170 – and 'there's no way in hell' it was fixed

  • 28 days ago
  • 123 views

We’re 10 days removed from Tito Ortiz’s submission of Chael Sonnen in his retirement fight at Bellator 170, and there’s still just a little bit of talk left over for it. Filed under: Bellator, Featur read news >>

'Rampage' vs. 'King Mo' 2 rematch at Bellator 175 finds home in Chicago area on March 31

  • 27 days ago
  • 20 views

We found out about the rematch between Muhammed Lawal and Quinton Jackson at Bellator 175 earlier this month. Now we know a venue. Filed under: Bellator, News read news >>

Andrey Koreshkov vs. Fernando Gonzalez among Bellator 174 additions

  • 25 days ago
  • 8 views

Next month’s Bellator 174 fight card has a slew of new additions, including a pair of main-card bouts.Filed under: Bellator, News read news >>

Two Feature Fights Added to Bellator 174 Main Card | MMAWeekly.com

  • 25 days ago
  • 8 views

Two new bouts have been added to the Bellator 174: Corenen vs. Budd main card set for March 3 at WinStar World Casino & Resort in Thackerville, Okla. read news >>

UFC President Dana White on 'TUF 8' winner: 'Bellator is a good place for Ryan Bader'

  • 25 days ago
  • 241 views

HOUSTON – The most tenured light heavyweight fighter in UFC history officially will be taking his talents elsewhere. Filed under: Bellator, News, UFC read news >>

Bellator 176 sends promotion back to Italy on April 8 for MMA/kickboxing event

  • 21 days ago
  • 4 views

Bellator is heading back across the pond for another dual MMA/kickboxing event in Italy. Filed under: Bellator, News read news >>

Bellator MMA Returns to Italy in April | MMAWeekly.com

  • 22 days ago
  • 6 views

Bellator President Scott Coker today announced that his fast-rising promotion will be revisiting Torino, Italy, for Bellator 176. read news >>