Bellator 162: Shlemenko vs. Grove takes place on Friday, October 21st at the FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee on Spike TV. Alexander Shlemenko was last seen in Bellator over a year ago when he took out Melvin Manhoef at Bellator 133 in Fresno. Shlemenko tested positive for PEDs after that fight and was suspended for three years. That suspension was reduced to one year so Shlemenko is back fighting in Bellator after fighting twice for M-1 Challenge. There are four fights on the main card of Bellator 162 on Spike TV and twelve on the preliminary card on Spike.com.
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Alexander Shlemenko (53-9) vs. Kendall Grove (23-15)
The former middleweight Bellator champion gets a chance to get back in the spotlight as he takes on Grove. It was thought that Shlemenko would be out of Bellator for three years but his suspension was reduced on appeal. Shlemenko has far more experience than Grove as he has fought 62 times while Grove has fought 38 times.
Grove will be listed as an underdog in this fight but he said he is very confident. “I’d be confident going into the fight this weekend — today, tomorrow, even,” he said. Grove is 4-2 in Bellator including a loss to Brandon Halsey. “I had that taste, and I came up short. I want it again,” Grove said. “I know beating him (Shlemenko) is just going to put me a little bit closer, maybe on the doorstep to get that opportunity again.”
Grove was thought to be done in Bellator when he signed with Z-Promotions but he was still able to get this fight against Shlemenko.
“Everybody doubted me from day one, and they still doubt me,” Grove said. “They still think I got here off of luck and good looks. But I know how to fight, too. I think I’ve proven it. But if you want to doubt me, go ahead and doubt me. I love proving people wrong.”
Shlemenko is the more powerful fighter and Grove said that people should realize that the PED’s didn’t make Shlemenko a great fighter. “Testosterone didn’t make him a great kickboxer. Testosterone didn’t make him a great fighter,” Grove said. “Testosterone might have given him a little bit more strength and a little bit faster recovery, but I’m still going to be fighting a good fighter.”
Grove will have the edge in height and reach but the power edge is with Shlemenko. “If we’re on the inside, yeah, it favors him because that’s where he does the most damage,” Grove said. “But, I ain’t a punk, either. I’m a fighter. He has a button on his chin just like I have a button. If I find it, I’m going to take it, and vice versa. If he finds mine, he’s going to take it.”
Bellator Prediction – Shlelemnko second round KO
Bobby Lashley (14-2) vs. Josh Appelt (12-5)
Lashley is a former WWE superstar who has won his last seven fights including going 4-0 in Bellator. Appelt has won his last two fights including a stoppage of Roy Boughton for the West Coast Fighting Championship. Appelt has gotten 10 of his 12 wins by knockout or submission.
Bellator Prediction – Lashley 2nd round submission
Hisaki Kato (6-2) vs. A.J. Matthews (8-5)
Kato has been exciting since signing with Bellator as he stopped Joe Schilling with a spinning back fist at Bellator 139. He couldn’t follow that win up with another one as he was beaten by Melvin Manhoef at Bellator 146. Matthews is a veteran of Bellator but he hasn’t had much success lately losing four of his last six fights.
Kato is looking ahead to a title fight against the winner of champion Rafael Carvalho vs. Manhoef who will fight at Bellator 168.
Bellator Prediction – Kato first round KO
Goiti Yamauchi (19-3) vs. Ryan Couture (10-4)
Yamauchi was 14-1 with 11 submissions and one knockout before joining Bellator. Since joining Bellator he has gone 5-2 with three submissions. He will be moving up in weight to the lightweight division for this fight.
Couture has the bigger name as he is the son of former world champion Randy Couture. Ryan has spent most of his career in Strikeforce and Bellator. He has won four of his last five fights with all four wins coming by submission.
Bellator Prediction – Yamauchi 2nd round submission
Kevin Ferguson Jr. (Baby Slice) (Debut) vs. Rick Bing (Debut)Ricky Rainey (11-4) vs. Gilbert Smith (12-5)Steve Garcia (6-1) vs. Ronnie Lawrence (1-0)Chase Gormley (13-5, 1 NC) vs. Bobby Brents (17-5)Julia Budd (8-2) vs. Arlene Blencowe (7-5)Dan Charles (10-3-1) vs. Virgil Zwicker (14-5-1)Tyler Hill (6-0) vs. Wade Johnson (10-1)Jonathan Burdine (4-4) vs. James Wallace (1-0)Eryk Anders (4-0) vs. Brian White (5-4)Jaleel Willis (6-0) vs. Omar Johnson (4-0)Chad Cook (10-10) vs. Grady Hurley (9-1)Mike Wessell (14-8) vs. Frank Tate (4-1)
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