This Friday Brennan Ward will be fighting Alexander Shlemenko for the Bellator Middleweight championship. Ward beat Justin Torrey, Joe Pacheco, and Mikkel Parlo, during the Bellator Middleweight tournament, to punch his ticket to a title shot against Shlemenko. Since beating Maiquel Falcao to regain his Middleweight title, Shlemenko has defended his title twice by defeating Brett Cooper and Doug Marshall.
Alexander Shlemenko- Shlemenko is a very versatile fighter who uses volume striking as a way to wear his opponents down. He does not posses one punch knockout power, but he will overwhelm you with the quantity and variety of strikes he throws. This is seen best In his fight with Doug Marshall; he will have to use these strikes to keep Ward guessing throughout the fight. Shlemenko also possesses some solid grappling skills, he can also work this into his offense against Ward. If he allows Ward to stalk him and land his power punches Shlemenko will be in all sorts of trouble. In his last few fights Ward has been taken down and controlled on the mat, Shlemenko should look to capitalize on this weakness.
Brennan Ward- Ward is an extremely durable and tough fighter, he showed this during the tournament. He is a very aggressive fighter and always looks to finish even if it means giving up position or leaving himself open to counters. He will have to keep Shlemenko on his heels and look to land his powerful punches on the feet. In his last few fights he has been taken down and even mounted, for this reason I think he should avoid the ground with Shlemenko. His key to success will be to pressure and overwhelm Shlemenko.
Result: Ward has shown he can come back in fights after being dominated in the first round, however, I expect Shlemenko to be too much for him. Ward will hang in there for a little bit but eventually succumb to Shlemenko's mix of strikes and takedowns
Shlemenko wins via 3rd round Tko