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Why It's Important
Alexander Shlemenko is one of Bellator's highest-regarded champions these days. He is a technically marvelous striker and is one of the fighters that made punches to the body vogue with his brutal finish of Maiquel Falcao last year. He is also one of the few characters on Bellator's roster, taking on the same sort of "stoic Russian killing machine" persona that made Fedor Emelianenko so mystifying (even though he's really a well-adjusted family man).
That said, he takes on a deceptively dangerous fight here in Tito Ortiz. Ortiz is another past-his-prime former Zuffa champion Bellator brought in as a shake-and-bake star. Make no mistake, though. He is a formidable wrestler who has been in the MMA game for a good 17 years now.
If Ortiz (at 39 years old, with chronic injury problems) can pull off the upset with his veteran skills, we will likely hear Bellator's resident bald man yelp "d'oh!" from the stands.
Will It Be Good?
There will be a lot of intrigue. Shlemenko is technically brilliant, and it's hard not to be at least a tad curious about whether or not Tito Ortiz has anything in the tank at this point. The fight itself, though, will probably actually end up being pretty bad.
How Will the Fight Go?
That's a tough call. Tougher than it should be.
Shlemenko is an undersized middleweight and is a very undersized light heavyweight. It's a question of how good the cardio and takedowns of the 39-year-old Ortiz are that will decide this fight.
If they're good, Ortiz will win by decision. If not, Shlemenko will likely batter him with strikes en route to a TKO win in the second or third.