Bellator 114 comes to Utah this Friday night with a card headlined by the Middleweight title defense of Champion Alexander Shlemenko as he faces Brennan Ward. The card also features the card also features tournament bouts in the Featherweight and he Middleweight divisions. In the main event, Shlemenko is a comfortable (-275) favorite over Ward, who returns (+235). Let’s look at what is on tap for Friday!
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Ward is 9-1 and has a reputation for being an exciting fighter who finishes his fights. He started off 2013 with his only loss, by arm bar in :15 seconds, but rattled off four wins in a row to end the year on a strong upswing. He took out Mikkel Parlo in November to earn the shot at Shlemenko. It was a nice win for Ward, and Parlo is probably the best fighter on his resume.
Shlemenko on the other hand, is one of the most experienced fighters on the map today, with this fight representing what would mark his 50th career win. Shlemenko is an aggressive and unorthodox striker who has both KO power and the depth to his game to slowly bludgeon opponents to a finish. Ward is going to need a lot of luck to get through against Shlemenko.
The Middleweight tournament matchup features UFC veteran Kendall Grove talking on Bellator veteran Brett Cooper, and the line sees Cooper favored at (-170) with the comeback on Grove sitting at (+150).
Grove is best remembered for his Ultimate Fighter Reality show season 3 victory, and he ha an overall 7-6 record in the UFC. He won his Bellator debut, but his record has been spotty since leaving the UFC more than 3 years ago.
Cooper has a similar record overall (19-9 compared to Grove’s 19-13). Cooper has been having his biggest fights in Bellator, where he has gone 0-2 in taking Shlemenko the distance twice. He is favored because his performance against Shlemenko showed guts, and because Grove’s star has fallen that far.