This weekend, Saturday, November 12th, Bellator 57 goes down in Ontario, Canada. The main events are the finals to the Bellator Middleweight and Welterweight tournaments. I want to focus on the Middleweight tilt between Alexander Shlemenko and Vitor Vianna. Win or lose, Shlemenko is a crowd pleaser and Vianna looks to have potential as well, so let’s take a closer look!
Check out this little ole KO courtesy of Shlemenko! -
Shlemenko is a striker first, and he always brings a lethal arsenal of punches, kicks and knees – these will be a threat throughout the fight. He is still young, and he has right around 50 fights on his resume. That is a deep pool of experience, and one that makes Shlemenko a dangerous prospect on the Bellator roster at 185 lbs.
Vitor Vianna, his opponent is a very impressive 12-1-1 and brings a striking pedigree as well, training with Vanderlei Silva and his group.
This will be an interesting stand up fight. If it goes to the ground, I expect Vianna to have the advantage, but Shlemenko is a very hard fighter to keep on the floor, even if you are able to ground him. In the stand up, Shlemenko is the wilder, more unorthodox of the two. Vianna’s style is marked by efficiency and looks more like traditional Muay Thai. Shlemenko incorporates more high kicks, spinning back fists and body shots in his striking.
Back in 2005 and 2006, Shlemenko fought a pair of wars against another Vanderlei Silva teammate, dropping two fights by decision to Jose Pele Landi. Since then however, Shlemenko has really polished his stand up game . Since then he has gone 20-2. One of those losses is a 5 round decision loss to Bellator 185 lb Champion Hector Lombard.
Shlemenko has definitely had a longer career, and he definitely has competed against a better level of competition than Vitor Vianna. For his part, Vianna has competed at 205 lbs, and has moved comfortably to 185 lbs. Shlemenko throughout his career has been a small 185 lber, one who walks around at that weight and does not utilize the techniques of weight cutting. It will be interesting to see if there is a notable size difference. The idea has been tossed around throughout his career that Shlemenko should drop to the 170 lb weight class, but so far he has resisted the idea and still done quite well for himself.
This weekend, I expect Shlemenko to take out Vianna. Shlemenko’s unorthodox style has been honed for MMA, and he gets off a lot of strikes and recovers position very quickly. I’m lookimg for Shlemenko to add this tournament title to his season 2 tournament title, and for him to face Hector Lombard again. At the sportsbooks, Shlemenko is a more than 2 to 1 favorite, however, and Vianna will be what I consider a live underdog. Good luck with this one folks!