Last night, at the Bellator 114 event in West Valley City, Utah Bellator Middleweight Champion Alexander Shlemenko took out challenger Brennan Ward with a standing guillotine in the second round. For Shlemenko, who was a favorite at the sportbooks by nearly a 3 to 1 margin, was never in any trouble from Ward, who proved tough and game in his nearly 7 minutes of fighting against Shlamenko. ‘Storm’ Shlemenko is starting to look like a dominant champion over this Bellator roster, who really has no one on his level who they are ready to throw at him. What can Bellator do next with the Middleweight Champion?
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One thing Bellator could do is finally accept that their tournament format is tired and move on looking for opponents using real matchmaking. For Brennan Ward, who is still a young fighter with some potential, he will likely be offered a spot in the season 11 middleweight tournament where he might win 3 times before getting run over by Shlemenko again. It is not the toughest tournament in sports as their announcers are fond of parroting.
For Shlemenko, he will sit and wait for an opponent. The middleweight tournament in season 10 is only scheduled to be a four man tournament, with Jeremy Kimball facing Dan Kramer next week on one side of the bracket. earlier at Bellator 113, Bellator vet Brett Cooper took out UFC vet Kendall Grove to advance to the finals.
Shlemenko has to feel comfortable with the talent in that tournament. Also preventing movement in the division is Shlemenko himself, as Bellator uses a lot of Russian talent, but they are limited in that most of them come from the same management teams, and they are not going to bring in someone from Russia to add talent. That limits the divison firther, as they have been able to lift their talent level using Russian fighters in the past.
The best bet to challenge Shlemenko is Yushin Okami, the WSOF’s erstwhile Middleweight stud who was part on an inter organizational challenge that was talked about. Other than that, Shlemenko will remain unchallenged in the current Bellator system.