FanPost

Bellator 98 Contest: I Am Beat You!! Shlemenko vs Cooper II

Summer's over, school's back in session, and the middleweights are about to get violent on each other. Bellator MMA returns to the Mohegan Sun Arena for the inaugural event of Season 9, and the 185 lb division gets the spotlight this night. While 8 fighters will begin their quest for a shot at the Middleweight Championship on Sept. 7, two others will fight for the right to be called the very best right now.

It has been just over two years since Brett Cooper and the battle beard faced off against Alexander Shlemenko for the first time, but the fight is still fresh in the memories of a lot of Bellator fans. Cooper came in with a record of 13-6, fresh off a TKO victory over Matt Major, and Shlemenko was looking to shake off his lone Bellator loss (to Hector Lombard) and start another trek towards middleweight gold. Though he had been in the hospital with the flu earlier in the week, Cooper battled through 3 tough rounds and likely even won the 2nd round on a lot of judge's score cards, but Shlemenko left no doubt as to who the winner was. Alex threw everything he had at Brett, and half the time, he was spinning when he did it. Back fists, back kicks, elbows, knees, forearms, Brett ate all of them, and somehow always managed to come back for more, even managing to land some serious uppercuts at a time when many fighters would have already turtled up and tapped out to the relentless Shlemenko. Alexander won by unanimous decision, with a few 10-8 rounds thrown in for good measure, and has been destroying Bellator middleweights ever since. Brett Cooper went back to the drawing board, and has posted an impressive 6-1 record since the fight.

After their battle at Bellator 44, Cooper and Shlemenko soon became even more familiar with each other. They both set up camp at Reign Training Center, the Mark Munoz-led Orange County outfit that has grown by leaps and bounds in just under four years of its existence. During a recent interview on the Verbal Submission podcast, Alex downplayed their time training together as only for about a total of two months total, but he also admitted they became very friendly towards each other during that time. If Alexander's original opponent for this fight didn't have a broken hand, it is entirely possible (even likely) that Cooper could have been one of Shlemenko's main training partners for this very fight. Doug Marshall did indeed break his hand, however, so the partner once again becomes the opponent. (Cooper stayed at Reign for this training camp, while Shlemenko spent time at HB Ultimate and the legendary Black House.)

Now, all of this history is fine and good, but how does this Saturday's match play out in the cage? Assuming both guys are relatively healthy, what type of chance does Cooper have in this rematch? Other than the always-present puncher's chance, I fear that Brett will have very little new to offer The Storm. Cooper has the heart of a lion, and the will to persevere through great adversity, but the Russian champion has those attributes as well, in spades. Sure, Cooper has knockout power, but doesn't almost everyone at the top levels of this division? Shlemenko has been touched by a lot heavier hands than Cooper's, and its been years since ANYONE stopped him early, so I look for this pattern to continue on Saturday. Unless Saturday night happens to be the night we see Alex get old in front of our very eyes (which I highly doubt, but with so many fights under his belt, it is entirely possible), Shlemenko will cruise to a late round stoppage or a dominating unanimous decision.

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bloody Elbow

You must be a member of Bloody Elbow to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bloody Elbow. You should read them.

Join Bloody Elbow

You must be a member of Bloody Elbow to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bloody Elbow. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_5349_tracker