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Alexander Shlemenko baffled by UFC matchmaking, calls it an ‘incomprehensible situation’

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The Bellator middleweight champion discusses his issues with UFC matchmaking, and why he believes he has the advantage against his upcoming opponent Tito Ortiz.

Esther Lin

Alexander Shlemenko is not impressed with the way the UFC operates their promotion, particularly the baffling matchmaking, which the Russian sees as less fair than Bellator's tournament system.

Shlemenko holds a 50-7 record in MMA competition and has been Bellator's middleweight champ since winning the vacant title back at Bellator 88.  Prior to that, Shlemenko had to work his way through the tournament system to challenge then-champion Hector Lombard for the title. He sees the tournament processes as far more fair than simply allowing the UFC to decide who the next contender is based on their entertainment value.

"Look at the UFC matchmaking for me it's very incomprehensible situation." Shlemenko told "Look at guys who get title shots. They give title shots anyone they want. In Bellator the situation is more fair. If you are one of the fighters in Grand Prix that means you have a chance to get a champion. In the UFC a guy who win many fights can be behind a guy who prefer talking. Chael Sonnen is a great example of that. So I think Bellator is more fair organization in this situation."

The champ is scheduled to face former UFC light-heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz at the Bellator 120 PPV next month. It is a surprising match-up considering the size and weight disparity between them.

The discussion regarding this bout began when Shlemenko took to social media and posted a video where he respectfully called out Tito Ortiz for a match-up on the PPV. The following evening, both were present at Bellator 115 and had verbally agreed to meet at the PPV. It was finalized less than a week later.

When asked why he is so confident ahead of the match-up, Shlemenko stated that he has no problem facing bigger fighters as he holds an advantage in quickness.

"I always want to fight against guys who heavier than I am. I like to spar with heavier guys because I can use my advantage - speed. But it's going to be the first time when I will fight against a light heavyweight fighter in my career. My manager Alexei Zhernakov said to me that Tito Ortiz wants to fight but he can't find opponent. So I decided to offer myself. And we made it and I'm glad about that. I know that TIto wants to fight because his last fight was a long time ago. And I know he wants to do great comeback. I guess he thinks it's gonna be easy fight because he has weight advantage."

Bellator 120 take place on May 17 at the Landers Center in Southaven, Mississippi.

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