Bellator Misses on Melendez, but Inks Extension with Middleweight Champ Alexander Shlemenko

February 24, 2014
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Alexander Shlemenko

Bellator MMA may have lost out on Gilbert Melendez sweepstakes, but they did manage to ink a new deal with current middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko.

Bellator had signed Melendez to an offer sheet, but the UFC stepped up its counter, announcing on Sunday night that it had re-signed Melendez.

While Shlemenko doesn’t come with the splash that stealing Melendez away from the UFC would have, it’s important for Bellator to keep its top-tier talent under contract, and that’s just what the promotion accomplished by signing Shlemenko to an long-term extension.

The 29-year-old Russian fighter returns to the cage at Bellator 114 on March 28, putting his belt on the line against Season 9 tournament winner Brennan Ward.

“Bellator has been my home for many years, and it’s where I want to be,” Shlemenko said. “Bjorn [Rebney] made me a promise and he lived up to that promise to provide me with a new deal.

“I have made a home here at Bellator, and I will continue to represent Russia in my efforts in the cage. I have gained millions of new fans both in the U.S. and in Russia and around the world during my time with Bellator, and I will enjoy being Bellator’s longest running champion. I will continue wearing that belt with honor during my time with Bellator, which will now be at the peak of my career.”

Currently riding a twelve-fight winning streak that includes victories over Brett Cooper, Maiquel Falcao, Doug Marshall and Vitor Vianna, the terms of Shlemenko’s new contract were not disclosed.

“Alexander Shlemenko has been with this organization since its infancy, and has grown into one of the most dominant champions in MMA,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “I can say without hesitation, Alexander has been a large part of the success we have enjoyed over the last five years and as the biggest name in Russian MMA, he’s been the catalyst to the largest TV deal in the history of MMA in Russia.  It’s an honor to have him fight in this organization. I look forward to watching his career continue inside the Bellator cage for years to come.”

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  • robc

    And name one top 10 guy that he has beat.. ever. The answer is zero. And will continue to be zero as long as he fights in Bellator. They have what, 3 middleweight guys on their roster? I’m sure the UFC would have taken him. He clearly has no interest in fighting top competition. Lost to both Lombard and Jacare… Heck, name a top 20 guy he has faced other than those two.

    • Drock420

      If you watch the fight with Lombard, Lombard was stalling the whole fight, imo he beat Lombard.

      • Jason

        Lombard dropped to welterweight because he couldn’t hang bud. I like Lombard and he beat Shlemenko. It wasn’t like 100% cut and dry but it was up there. I don’t see anybody in that division getting to the second round against the top 10 in the UFC. Good for Shlemenko he got a great deal and he can continue doing what he loves to do and getting paid well for it. But let’s not pretend any of us wanted to see him in the UFC. Even if he did go, it would probably damage Bellator even further as their champion with a 12 fight win streak over there getting pummeled by #9 Carmont or #10 Philippou or #12 Mousasi..

        • Alex

          What UFC? He better stay away from WSOF either.

          JT Money will lay on him, Dave Branch will submit him, Okami…LOL Okami will make Storm his geisha

      • Alex

        LOLLLL Lombard beat him up on the ground and was pummeling his head into canvas.
        The fifth round was even as they both stood and banged, Lombard had no problem with Shlemenko’s striking.

        Lombard owned him even though he was sick and should’ve fought at WW.

  • Seth

    Woooooow…Viacom has interest in resigning their champions? D: Seriously, that is a NEWS D:

  • Alex

    Shlemenko is a loser and a poser.
    He pads his record with cans just like his beloved Fedor did, and now he will continue beating cans in Bellator, that have no quality middleweights since Lombard left.
    LOL the old steroid head Doug Marshall managed to win a tourney there – he got beat by freaking Kyasey Uscola!

    LOL some think that he’s the best Russian fighter – Khabib would’ve spanked him in a fight, even though they’re in the different weight classes.
    Shame that the guy has the same name as me, he doesn’t deserve it.

    • Seth

      Well said 🙂 I hope Fedor’s fanboys wont break their fingers, writing you hate-mails! 😉

      • Alex

        LOL let them.
        Not that I would care about the nuthuggers – they love Fedor for his big undefeated record, it compensates him for their small johnsons LOL.

        It takes someone who knows MMA to understand, that records in this sport don’t mean crap.

        • Seth

          Yup. Barao is undefeated for similar amount of time and he doesn’t get that kind of reaction, mostly because he’s Bantamweight. But Barao at least fight legit folks for last few years, not duck and dive in New Japan Pro Wrestling like Fedor did for 10 years