Bellator 185 post-event facts: Heather Hardy suffers 1st combat sports loss

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The Bellator 185 main event came down to the wire when latest UFC crossover Gegard Mousasi narrowly escaped with a victory over Alexander Shlemenko in Friday’s headliner.

Mousasi (43-6-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) earned a unanimous-decision win over Shlemenko (56-10 MMA, 12-4 BMMA) in the Spike-televised middleweight main event at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., giving him his first win since parting ways with the UFC earlier this year.

Mousasi’s victory closed out of a five-fight main card, which saw three contests decided by the scorecards. For more on the numbers behind the show, check out 20 post-event facts about Bellator 185.

* * * *

General

Debuting fighters went 3-3 at the event.

Betting favorites went 3-2 on the main card.

Betting favorites fell to 11-4 (with one even odds) in Bellator main events this year.

Total fight time for the five-bout main card was 59:27.

* * * *

Main card

Gegard Mousasi at Bellator 185. (Dave Mandel, USA TODAY Sports)

Mousasi was successful in his Bellator debut. He’s earned victories in 17 different organizations during his career.

Mousasi’s six-fight winning streak is his longest since December 2009.

Mousasi improved to 9-1 in his past 10 fights.

Shlemenko had his seven-fight unbeaten streak snapped for his first defeat since September 2014.

Alexander Shlemenko (blue gloves) fight Gegard Mousasi (red gloves) during Bellator 185. (Dave Mandel, USA TODAY Sports)

Shlemenko fell to 1-3 (with one no-contest) in his past five Bellator appearances.

Shlemenko suffered his first decision loss since Oct. 28, 2010 – a span of 2,549 days (nearly seven years) and 23 fights.

Neiman Gracie (7-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) improved to 4-0 since he dropped to the welterweight division in February 2015.

Gracie has earned six of his seven career victories by stoppage. All of those wins are by submission.

Zak Bucia (18-9 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) suffered the first submission loss of his career.

Kristina Williams (1-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) was successful in her pro debut.

Kristina Williams (blue gloves) fights Heather Hardy (red gloves) during Bellator 185. (Dave Mandel, USA TODAY Sports)

Heather Hardy (1-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) suffered the first loss in 23 fights of MMA and boxing combined competition.

Ryan Quinn (14-7-1 MMA, 8-1 BMMA) has earned five of his eight Bellator victories by decision.

Marcus Surin (4-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) had his four-fight winning streak snapped for the first defeat of his career.

Lisa Blaine (2-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) earned the first decision victory of her career.

Ana Julaton (2-3 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) suffered consecutive losses for the first time in her career. She hasn’t earned a victory since December 2014.

Julaton has suffered all three of her career losses by decision.

For complete coverage of Bellator 185, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Trading Shots: What does it tell us when former UFC fighters struggle in Bellator?

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Former UFC fighters are finding that the transition to Bellator isn’t always an easy one, so what does that tell us about the true difference in talent between the two promotions? MMAjunkie columnist Ben Fowlkes and retired UFC and WEC fighter Danny Downes discuss.

Fowlkes: Well, Danny, if you were thinking that you’d come out of retirement and cruise through the Bellator ranks, might be time to reconsider that strategy.

On Friday night Gegard Mousasi was the latest former UFC fighter to meet more resistance than expected in Bellator. Unlike Lorenz Larkin and Benson Henderson, he still got the win in the end, but he faced some stiff competition from Alexander Shlemenko, and the evidence was written all over his face by the end.

As the sample size grows, is it time to start asking ourselves whether we’ve been selling the competition short in Bellator? Mousasi left the UFC on a five-fight winning streak. If you put him in a fight with the current UFC middleweight champion, he’s probably the favorite. Yet he still got all he could handle in his first fight with Bellator.

As Bellator CEO Scott Coker loves to point out, people did the same with Strikeforce fighters, downplaying their skills because they weren’t in the UFC. But several of them became champs once they finally made the jump to the UFC. Are we making the same mistake all over again with Bellator as the lesser-known MMA organization? If so, will we ever stop making that particular blunder?

Downes: Welcome to the club, Ben! Those of us who actually watch the sport of MMA instead of being a Zuffa Zombie (although I guess now they’re the Endeavor Eunuchs) have known about Bellator for some time. Especially considering the way the UFC roster has ballooned the last couple years, the talent gap outside the top five has drastically narrowed.

We should be asking ourselves if we’ve been selling the competition short, but I wouldn’t count on too many others joining the fold any time soon. The UFC bias is too strong. In Mousasi’s case, despite the fact that he’s competed in every MMA organization you can think of, people will think of him as an “also ran,” like he couldn’t hack it in the UFC.

The same holds true for Phil Davis and Ryan Bader. Even Eddie Alvarez, who became UFC champion after a successful career in Bellator, doesn’t get the credit he deserves. He lost his UFC debut to Donald Cerrone, therefore Bellator is the minor leagues!

Part of it is also Bellator’s own doing. In an effort to deliver some name brand fighters, the “legends tour” moniker can seem too familiar. We all love a good “freak show” fight, but even then Bellator is held to a different standard. If Royce Gracie vs. Ken Shamrock III happens inside a Rizin ring instead of a Bellator cage, I think the feelings and expectations are much different.

We often talk about how the number of UFC events can make fans feel less inclined to watch. This has ramifications outside the UFC. Even though Bellator and the UFC rarely go head to head, there’s only so much MMA you can consume. Even the hardcore fans have to go to work and occasionally bathe. Who has time for another MMA promotion?

The boom period of MMA is over. Isn’t it too late to catch up to the UFC now? If not, how do they gain ground?

Fowlkes: First of all, props for being the hip guy who knew Bellator was good before it was cool. Second, how do you catch the UFC from behind? Maybe you have to meet it halfway.

Bellator has been slowly gaining ground on the UFC, both through its own talent acquisitions and the UFC’s missteps, but there’s still a ways to go. What I wonder is whether it helps that cause to see former UFC fighters struggle in the Bellator cage.

On one hand, you paid good money to lure these fighters away, so you want to make your investment back. You want them to be the successful stars you thought you were paying for, right?

On the other hand, if they come over and get roughed up by existing Bellator fighters, it prompts the kind of conversation we’re having now.

Or maybe it doesn’t. Maybe some people see it as proof that the UFC was right to let that guy go. Maybe they don’t even notice, because Bellator just draws so much less attention to begin with.

Or maybe this conversation about quality of fighters isn’t one that most fans are truly interested in anymore. We used to love that argument when it was PRIDE vs. UFC. We loved it slightly less when it was Strikeforce vs. UFC. But could it be that the UFC brand name is so solidified at this point that a certain segment of the fan base doesn’t even care if it’s where the best fighters are?

That’d be a little depressing, now that I think about it. But does that mean it’s not true?

Downes: I take it back. We don’t want you in our club anymore. I bet you’d probably never pay your dues.

There is something to the thought that the UFC is so ingrained as the face of MMA that it would be hard to catch it (there’s something to it because I said the exact same thing earlier, and you repackaged it as your own thought). People like to make fun of the “I train UFC” crowd, but there’s something to the joke. The term MMA may have more traction now than ever, but there are still a huge number of fans who think UFC = MMA.

Part of that has to do with the role of media. Dana White may talk about Bellator’s Viacom money, but the UFC has a lock on content. In mainstream outlets like ESPN or FS1, the UFC is the MMA content.

This brings us to a chicken or the egg argument. The UFC receives the most coverage because that’s what fans want. But how much of that has to do with what we give them?

Can you name three Bellator champs? How many fighters on the Bellator roster can you list? Is Alexander Griboyedov a current heavyweight or a 19th century Russian playwright? Certainly the failure to answer those questions isn’t the media’s fault, but we have to wonder if fans will ever be willing (or able) to make up that lost ground in the information battle.

Having good fights isn’t enough. What that extra piece of the puzzle is, I don’t know. I do know that there are only so many hours in a day, so many articles a website can write, and so much time an MMA fan can commit. Maybe fans will start to commit more of that time to Bellator. But maybe they’ll find something else to do. If they do that, it won’t just be bad for Coker – it’ll be bad for everyone.

Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Danny Downes, a retired UFC and WEC fighter, is an MMAjunkie contributor who has also written for UFC.com and UFC 360. Follow them on twitter at @benfowlkesMMA and @dannyboydownes.

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Fight Tracks: The walkout songs of Bellator 185, including Green Day and James Brown

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Filed under: Bellator, Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News

While it takes intense training, world-class skills and maybe even a bit of luck to register a Bellator win, picking the right song to accompany you to the cage is a key talent, as well.

See what the fighters of Friday’s Bellator 185 event in Uncasville, Conn., went with as their backing tracks.

* * * *

Gegard Mousasi def. Alexander Shlemenko via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Gegard Mousasi: “Hate or Glory” by Gesaffelstein

Alexander Shlemenko: “Within Temptation” by Angels

Neiman Gracie def. Zak Bucia via submission (neck crank) – Round 2, 2:27

Neiman Gracie: “Pharoahe Monch” by Simon Says

Javier Torres: “Ten Thousand Feet” by I See Stars

Kristina Williams def. Heather Hardy via TKO (doctor’s stoppage) – Round 2, 2:00

Kristina Williams: “Building 429” by Bonfire

Heather Hardy: “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys

Ryan Quinn def. Marcus Surin via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Ryan Quinn: “Mighty Quinn” by Manfred Mann

Marcus Surin: “Get Up Offa That Thing” by James Brown

Lisa Blaine def. Ana Julaton via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Lisa Blaine: “I Stand Alone” by Godsmack

Ana Julaton: “She’s a Rebel” by Green Day

For complete coverage of Bellator 185, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

Filed under: Bellator, Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 185 highlights: Did Mousasi deserve win? Who picked Hardy's upset?

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, Videos

Check out all of the video highlights from Friday’s Bellator 185 event, which had a few surprises.

One of those surprises? Perhaps the way UFC vet and 8-1 favorite Gegard Mousasi (43-6-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) struggled against former Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko (56-10 MMA, 12-4 BMMA) in the main event.

Bellator 185 took place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., and the main card aired on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Mousasi, who was making his promotional debut after a successful run with promotions such as the UFC, Strikeforce, DREAM and PRIDE, ultimately squeaked by with a trio of 29-28 scores for the unanimous-decision victory, but his takedown-heavy game plan didn’t exactly win over the crowd.

In the co-main event, welterweight Neiman Gracie (7-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) stuck to his roots and ultimately submitted Zak Bucia (18-9 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) with a second-round neck crank.

Additionally, in a heavily promoted flyweight bout, Kristina Williams (1-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) used a flush shin to the face to score a second-round TKO win – due to a doctor’s stoppage – over pro boxer and 4-1 favorite Heather Hardy (1-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA).

Also on the card, lightweight Ryan Quinn (14-7-1 MMA, 8-1 BMMA) survived a late rally from Marcus Surin (4-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) to pick up a unanimous-decision win, and Lisa Blaine (2-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) spoiled Ana Julaton’s (2-3 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) U.S. debut with a narrow split-decision victory.

For more on all of the fights, check out:

And for more on Bellator 185, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Scott Coker: Bellator considering 5-round main events, but 'once we do it, we can't go back'

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UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Five-round main event fights could be coming to Bellator, company President Scott Coker revealed at Friday’s Bellator 185 post-fight news conference.

Following a hotly contested unanimous decision win for Gegard Mousasi (43-6-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) over Alexander Shlemenko (56-10 MMA, 12-4 BMMA) in the Spike-televised middleweight fight at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., there was debate over what would have happened with two additional rounds.

The UFC adopted five-round non-title headliners in June 2011, and the results have come with little criticism. Bellator has yet to go in that direction, and although Coker said it’s something that’s being discussed, he admitted there’s some hesitation.

“That’s something we’ve been really debating internally,” Coker said. “Because once we do it, we can’t go back. Right now all the main events except for title fights are three rounds. … If this was a five-round fight, it could have ended in a different outcome.

“We’re going to evaluate internally, we’ll talk to our guys and then we’ll talk about it. At some point, we’ll probably do it, but once we do it, we’re not going to be able to come back.”

Coker did not reveal a timeline for when a decision will be made on implementing five-round title fights, but the widespread debate over the outcome of Mousasi vs. Shlemenko could convince one way or the other.

For complete coverage of Bellator 185, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Scott Coker on Gegard Mousasi's debut: Bellator's 'going to be a tough going for everybody'

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, Videos

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Gegard Mousasi was hoping to make a massive statement in his Bellator debut. He got the win over Alexander Shlemenko in Friday’s Bellator 185 headliner, but it came by the skin of his teeth.

Mousasi (43-6-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) edged former Bellator middleweight champion Shlemenko (56-10 MMA, 12-4 BMMA) by unanimous decision in the Spike-televised main event at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. He was forced to overcome a busted eye for all but the first few minutes of the bout, hindering his ability to inflict his full offensive arsenal.

“The Dreamcatcher” came into the organization as a high-profile free agent signing, joining multiple other notables who have jumped over from the UFC in recent years. There’s a growing trend of those crossovers struggling in the Bellator cage, and company President Scott Coker said it’s a familiar situation.

“Here’s how I feel about it: When I owned Strikeforce and we were doing fights back in the day, we had some of the best fighters on the planet, and it was like, ‘Well, the UFC guys are better than the Strikeforce guys,’” Coker told MMAjunkie at Bellator 185’s post-fight news conference. “Then look what happened. Tyron Woodley, Luke Rockhold, Daniel Cormier – those are all (Strikeforce) guys. It’s just that people when they come over here feel it should be easy, but Shlemenko is a guy that had 55, 60 fights. That’s going to be a guy that’s dangerous.

“To me, I think the people that have come over here from other leagues, they’ve had a hard time. I just say, ‘Hey, welcome to Bellator. This is going to be a tough going for everybody.’”

Coker wouldn’t give a decisive opinion on the decision of the Bellator 185 main event. He said he was “watching as a fan,” but admitted the judging likely came down to a very competitive second round, which all three judges scored in Mousasi’s favor.

Regardless of the result, Coker praised Mousasi’s resiliency in the contest. The former Strikeforce titleholder and No. 6 fighter in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA middleweight rankings, suffered a badly damaged eye early in the contest, but gutted out all 15 minutes.

“Gegard is a tough guy,” Coker said. “He has a lot of perseverance. He has indomitable spirit. He will come back from this. I know that he’s a little bit disappointed with his performance, but to me, I thought that this fight was going to be a tough, tough fight for him. It was, so on to the next one.”

Coker couldn’t give an immediate update on the condition of Mousasi’s eye, but said he fears a potentially fractured orbital bone. That could thwart the organization’s plans to have Mousasi challenge the winner of Bellator 190 title fight between 185-pound champ Rafael Carvalho (14-1 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) and challenger Alessio Sakara (19-11 MMA, 2-0 BMMA), but Coker said he will wait for a formal doctor’s opinion before making any decisions.

“He might have an orbital fracture,” Coker said. “If he does he’s going to be out for six to eight months, maybe a year. Who knows? That’s why we always have to come back and see how the fights unfold, see how the fights do and then we’ll reshuffle the deck. That’s what we’ll do here. We’ll see what the doctors say about his eye and then we’ll make a decision at that point.”

For complete coverage of Bellator 185, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Check out the Bellator 185 main event scorecard for Gegard Mousasi vs. Alexander Shlemenko

Gegard Mousasi was forced to dig deep in the Bellator 185 main event, but in the end he came out with a narrow unanimous decision victory over Alexander Shlemenko.

Mousasi (43-6-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) made his highly anticipated Bellator debut in Friday’s Spike-televised middleweight headliner at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Shlemenko (56-10 MMA, 13-3 BMMA) nearly spoiled it by giving a hard-fought fight, all of which started with a big right hand that closed Mousasi’s eye.

All 15 minutes of the bout were competitive, and the end result was a somewhat controversial decision which received plenty of reaction from the MMA community.

Despite that, all three cageside judges scored the fight the same. See the complete Bellator 185 main event scorecard below (via Twitter):

For more on Bellator 185, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Twitter reacts to Gegard Mousasi's narrow decision win over Alexander Shlemenko at Bellator 185

Gegard Mousasi was forced to overcome an ugly eye injury, but ultimately he came out on the winning end of a unanimous decision over Alexander Shlemenko in Friday’s Bellator 185 main event.

Mousasi’s (43-6-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) anticipated Bellator debut came down to the scorecards after three rounds of middleweight action, for most of which his eye was shut close. He got the edge from the judges, taking the decision over Shlemenko (56-10 MMA, 12-4 BMMA) in the Spike-televised headline at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.

Check out the top Twitter reactions to Mousasi’s debut victory over Shlemenko at Bellator 185.

* * * *

For complete coverage of Bellator 185, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 185 results: Gegard Mousasi gets past Alexander Shlemenko – and hears it from the fans

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – It was a pretty rough Bellator debut for Gegard Mousasi, who had to survive a badly damaged right eye in the first round to take a unanimous decision from former champ Alexander Shlemenko.

Mousasi (43-6-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) took a trio of 29-28 scores from Shlemenko (56-10 MMA, 12-4 BMMA) in the headliner, and instantly heard it from the fans in the arena – who appeared to side with Shlemenko.

The middleweight bout was the main event of Bellator 185, which took place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The main card aired on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Mousasi took the center of the cage and kicked early, including a teep that pushed Shlemenko backward. Shlemenko tried a pair of spinning fists, but Mousasi steered clear of them. But when Mousasi drove in for a takedown, Shlemenko caught him with a punch, then went after a guillotine choke when Mousasi tried to drop down to recover. He couldn’t hold it, though, and Mousasi found himself sitting on top of Shlemenko against the fence working punches.

Shlemenko worked back to his feet 90 seconds in, but it wasn’t for long. Mousasi took him down easily, then worked for a rear-naked choke. He cranked Shlemenko’s neck without being able to get under the chin right away, but had nearly three minutes to work with the former champ tied up in a body triangle. With two minutes left, it looked like Mousasi might finally have enough to finish, but Shlemenko continued to fight. And with 70 seconds left, Shlemenko got back to his feet and stormed after Mousasi for a moment. A left hand did some serious damage to Mousasi’s right eye. But Mousasi put him right back to the canvas and punched him in the face. Another takedown came with 30 seconds left, but Shlemenko worked out of it and dropped some big punches on Mousasi before the bell.

Ten seconds into the second, Shlemenko threw a huge spinning back fist, and Mousasi ducked just under it. Moments later, Mousasi slipped to the canvas, but Shlemenko let him back up not wanting to be on the ground. Shlemenko continued to work spinning attacks, perhaps hoping Mousasi might not see one coming given his damaged right eye. Ninety seconds into the round, Mousasi put Shlemenko against the fence and looked to tee off. But he let him out and the two went back to the center. There, Shlemenko nearly landed a fight-ender.

But midway through, Mousasi dropped down and tried to again take Shlemenko to the canvas. He couldn’t get it done and found himself on the wrong end of a spinning attack, but he stayed upright and soon after took Shlemenko to the canvas. With 90 seconds left, Mousasi worked from side control and threw short punches and knees and tried to pass. He took Shlemenko’s back again and had a minute to work. With 40 seconds left, Mousasi threatened with a choke, but once again Shlemenko survived it to go to the third.

Shlemenko came out in a hurry in the third with kicks to the body and hard punches. Punches to the body and a knee to the body followed, and a minute in a spinning back fist just glanced off Mousasi’s head. When Shlemenko continued to make Mousasi uncomfortable in the standup game, Mousasi again was forced to look for a takedown two minutes into the round. But after working for it, it was Shlemenko who took Mousasi down and tried to take advantage of what appeared to be a fading fighter. WIth two minutes left, they returned to their feet, and Shlemenko landed a big left hand and started backing Mousasi up. Again, Mousasi was forced to go for a takedown, then dropped back into guard and hoped Shlemenko would go to the canvas. He did not, except for to land punches. With 45 seconds left, he locked Mousasi up in a headlock, then let him back to his feet with 30 seconds left. Shlemenko wobbled Mousasi with 10 seconds left and threw punches down the stretch and appeared to steal the fight.

Official Bellator 185 results include:

MAIN CARD (Spike, 9 p.m. ET)

  • Gegard Mousasi def. Alexander Shlemenko via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Neiman Gracie def. Zak Bucia via submission (neck crank) – Round 2, 2:27
  • Kristina Williams def. Heather Hardy via TKO (doctor’s stoppage) – Round 2, 2:00
  • Ryan Quinn def. Marcus Surin via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Lisa Blaine def. Ana Julaton via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

PRELIMINARY CARD (6:30 p.m. ET)

  • John Lopez def. Billy Giovanella via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-26)
  • Kevin Carrier def. Jose Perez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Vovka Clay def. Frank Sforza via submission (gulilotine choke) – Round 2, 1:17 – 150-pound catchweight
  • Don Shainis def. Matt Denning via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 4:50 – 150-pound catchweight
  • Jordan Young def. Alec Hooben via submission (triangle choke) – Round 1, 2:44 – 195-pound catchweight
  • Costello Van Steenis def. Steve Skrzat via submission (strikes) – Round 1, 2:52
  • Joaquin Buckley def. Vinicius de Jesus via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Pete Rogers def. Timothy Wheeler via technical submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 0:37
  • Dean Hancock def. John Beneduce via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 3:38

For more on Bellator 185, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Gegard Mousasi, Alexander Shlemenko pass drug tests prior to Bellator 185 headliner

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Filed under: Bellator, News

Gegard Mousasi and Alexander Shlemenko both passed drug tests in advance of their Bellator 185 headliner.

Shlemenko (56-9 MMA, 12-3 BMMA) passed two out-of-competition tests for drugs of abuse and performance-enhancers, while Mousasi (42-6-2 MMA, 9-3 UFC) passed one, Mike Mazzulli of the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulations today told MMAjunkie.

The Mohegan commission regulates tonight’s Spike-telvised event at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.

The clean tests cleared the way for the middleweight fight, which is likely to serve as a title eliminator. Mousasi and Shlemenko both made weight on Thursday. Mazzulli said the competitors will also be tested tonight.

Bellator President Scott Coker previously told MMAjunkie Shlemenko was targeted for additional drug testing due to a previous positive test for the steroid oxandrolone and its metabolites, as well as an elevated T/E ratio. Originally suspended three years, his term was reduced to one year, ending in February 2016. During his suspension, he fought overseas in Russia before returning to the Bellator cage in October 2016 at Bellator 162.

Mousasi was well aware of Shlemenko’s past and believed the Russian had doped. He requested additional drug testing to Bellator, which left the decision to Mazzulli, who’s conducted drug testing on the promotion’s behalf in overseas jurisdictions in addition to his job with the Mohegan commission. Shlemenko passed his first test this past month.

“Let’s be honest: He’s been caught for 50 times the testosterone amount of a normal human being, so he definitely has cheated before,” Mousasi said. “But this time, he tested clean. So far, so good. I want to have fighters that are clean. I’m a clean fighter, so I want my opponent to be clean.”

Mousasi said one of the reasons he signed with Bellator was their receptiveness to his requests for additional drug testing.

“I don’t want to have a guy who’s physically or mentally twice as strong who normally wouldn’t be that,” Mousasi said. “I want to fight a clean fight. In a clean fight, I’m not worried. I know what I can do.

“When the sport is clean, I’m one of the best fighters. We’ve seen a lot of people who didn’t perform after (U.S. Anti-Doping Agency). All I’m asking is a fair opponent.”

Mousasi hopes to capture the middleweight title before moving to the light heavyweight division, where he’ll have to cut less weight. He’s currently on a five-fight win streak and is the No. 6 fighter in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA middleweight rankings. Shlemenko has won six of his past seven bouts and hopes to win back the Bellator belt he previously held for one year.

For more on Bellator 185, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie