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

After bloody upset of Heather Hardy, Kristina Williams 'did herself a lot of good'

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UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Kristina Williams may have been relatively unknown prior to Friday night, but a nationally televised pro debut and major upset quickly fixed that.

On Friday’s Bellator 185 main card at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., Williams (1-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) blasted undefeated pro boxer Heather Hardy (1-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) with a flush shin to the face in the Spike-televised bout.

The blood gushed immediately, and it ultimately set up a second-round TKO victory due to a doctor’s stoppage.

“To have someone come out and perform the way she did under this scenario – having a crowed arena, live TV and fighting Heather Hardy – I think she did herself a lot of good as far as building her brand, building her name and building some great fights ahead for her,” Bellator President Scott Coker said.

Despite a handful of amateur MMA bouts, as well as some boxing and kickboxing experience, Williams, a 28-year-old flyweight from Oklahoma, was a heavy underdog heading into the bout. Hardy, who was more than a 4-1 favorite, had the experience on paper. With a 20-0 pro-boxing record and an MMA-debut win over Alice Yauger at Bellator 180 in June, 35-year-old “Heat” could have been an intimidating force for many opponents.

Just not Williams.

“I was a little bit nervous, but once I got in there, I’m really comfortable in the cage,” she said. “Like I’ve said before, that’s where I like to be.

” … After the first minute or two, I knew the game plan was going to work because she kept coming (forward) and doing the same thing. I just fell into a comfort zone and started staying with the game plan.”

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Did she feel disrespected by the odds and the pre-fight hype that was centered around Hardy, who quickly became a fan favorite after her Bellator debut earlier this year?

“I really didn’t have a chip on my shoulder,” Williams said. “I mean, I’m an amateur coming in. I was really grateful to get this fight, so I was just ready to prove myself.”

And that’s what she did, according to Coker, who was impressed by the newcomer’s poise.

“When I look at her performance, she wasn’t nervous,” Coker sad. “She wasn’t tired, she wasn’t intimidated by Heather at all, and she was here to fight. And she fought a tough fight.

“Heather was there doing her thing and trying to catch her. She just got out-kicked tonight, I think. That’s what it was, a kickboxing (match). And her system was working well, and for Heather, she just got caught a couple times with those kicks, and that was it.”

So, what’s next for Williams?

“I don’t think you put her in the title mix, but you have to put her (against) someone who has a lot of potential,” Coker said. “We’ll get her some more fights, see how she does, and then we’ll see how we do.”

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

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

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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.

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Source: MMA Junkie

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

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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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Twitter reacts to Kristina Williams' bloody upset TKO of Heather Hardy at Bellator 185

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Kristina Williams embraced her opportunity to play spoiler on Friday when she defeated heavily hyped boxer-turned-MMA fighter Heather Hardy in a blood-soaked affair at Bellator 185.

Williams (1-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) turned in a masterful performance to begin her professional career when she scored a upset second-round TKO victory over Hardy (1-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) in the Spike-televised flyweight bout at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.

Check out the top Twitter reactions to Williams’ upset victory over Hardy 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: Kristina Williams bloodies Heather Hardy for TKO upset

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UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Kristina Williams put on a clinic against the heavily favored Heather Hardy, leaving the unbeaten pro boxer a bloody mess with a thrashed nose in the second round.

Williams (1-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) got a TKO when the cageside doctor shut down the fight at the 2:00 mark of the second. A shin to the face left Hardy gushing blood worse than she was before the kick, and Williams had a big upset in her pro MMA debut.

The women’s flyweight bout was part of the main card of Bellator 185, which took place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The main card aired on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Hardy came out slugging with kicks and punches. But 40 seconds in, Williams answered back and rocked hardy along the fence. Williams tried to work kicks and landed to the body.

Midway through, when Hardy tried to grab some momentum, Williams took it right back with a barrage of elbows to the head. Not long after, they continued to swing and kick for the fences, and Williams landed a kick to the face. Hardy was bleeding from the mouth and nose when she went back to her corner after the first and knew she was in a fight again.

Early in the second, Williams was able to trip Hardy to the canvas, then landed several punches to her bleeding opponent when she got back to her feet. A minute into the round, they slugged it out some more – and Williams got the better of it once again.

Thirty seconds later, Williams landed a shin right to Hardy’s nose and wobbled her in a major way. The blood started gushing enough that teh doctor was called in and it took him no time at all to shut the fight down.

Official Bellator 185 results include:

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

  • Gegard Mousasi vs. Alexander Shlemenko
  • Zak Bucia vs. Neiman Gracie
  • 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)

  • Billy Giovanella vs. John Lopez
  • 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.

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

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

Heather Hardy says leaps and bounds improvement will be on display at Bellator 185

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, Videos

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Heather Hardy’s pro MMA debut earlier this summer was a much-heralded one thanks to her unbeaten run as a women’s boxing champion.

And her fight against Alice Yauger at Bellator 180 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, not far from her Brooklyn home, didn’t disappoint the fans, even if Hardy wasn’t exactly thrilled with it. The 35-year-old gave herself a C+ grade for the third-round TKO in what was a blood-soaked thriller.

“The first one, I didn’t know what to expect,” Hardy told MMAjunkie on Wednesday ahead of her second pro fight at Bellator 185. “It was like, ‘I’m going to try to gloss over everything and hope for the best.’ It was a great outcome. The end of that fight, you couldn’t script it any better.

“… I had a lot of fine-tuning to do, and it’s much easier for me (now) to focus in on what I need to do to get ahead in this sport.”

Hardy (1-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) fights Kristina Williams (0-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) in a flyweight fight on the main card. Bellator 185 takes place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The main card airs on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Hardy’s deal with Bellator gives her the freedom to put the MMA gloves away to take boxing matches when the opportunities are right. She’s 20-0 as a pro boxer and is the WBC’s international women’s featherweight champion. There likely will be more boxing on the horizon, but for now Hardy is focusing in on making improvements in the cage.

“I’m a different fighter right now – you’re seeing a different Heather Hardy,” she said. “I went through this in my boxing career because I started late and I had to catch up. I’m doing the same thing now: I started late, had my first one, got out OK, but we’re going into this one much smarter, much stronger, and way more prepared.

“… From here, you’ll see me get three times better before my next fight.”

Hardy’s nickname is “The Heat,” and there’s some heat already on a potential next fight after her bout with Williams. Joining her on Bellator 185’s main card is another pro boxer who is fairly new to the MMA game. ONE Championship vet Ana Julaton (2-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) makes her promotional debut at flyweight against Lisa Blaine (1-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA).

There is a rivalry quickly building between the two, and after some Julaton comments to a British newspaper, Hardy now is convinced there’s no more dancing around it. She believes they’re destined to fight. Maybe it’ll be in the Bellator cage. Maybe it’ll be in the ring. Maybe it’ll be both, to hear Julaton talk about it.

But before Hardy can truly think about that fight, she has to beat Williams and prove she’s made the leaps she says she has. And Julaton has to beat Blaine. And while Williams isn’t on the radar screen the way Hardy is, she said there’s no taking her lightly.

“I’m prepared for a killer,” Hardy said of her opponent this week. “I have the big-stage experience. I’ve done the Garden, I’ve done the Barclays Center (in Brooklyn), I’ve done the Olympic training. I’ve done huge things. But she has the MMA experience and the ground experience and the kicking experience. So I didn’t take this kid lightly at all.”

Check out the video above for more from Hardy ahead of her fight. Below, catch up on her budding rivalry with Julaton.

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

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Bellator 185 weigh-in video highlights with ex-Heather Hardy boxing opponent's heckling and removal

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The Bellator 185 ceremonial weigh-ins are in the books – and featured a rare altercation.

While Heather Hardy was facing off with opponent Kristina Williams, a fan came past the barricades and started shouting at her. It took three members of the Bellator staff to get her away from the stage and drag her back past the barricades while she shouted and pointed Hardy down the whole time.

Turns out it was Shelly Vincent, a boxer who fought Hardy in the ring in 2016. Hardy won by majority decision in New York for the WBC’s International women’s featherweight title. Prior to their fight, Vincent told The Ring magazine that Hardy was “everything that’s wrong with women’s boxing.”

So there’s beef there, for sure … but right now, Hardy is concerned with her next MMA fight.

Bellator 185 takes place Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The main card airs on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Check out the video highlights from the main card weigh-ins above.

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

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

Bellator 185's Heather Hardy, Ana Julaton start the dance toward eventual fight

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UNCASVILLE, Conn. – It’s probably not by accident that Heather Hardy and Ana Julaton are fighting on the same Bellator 185 main card Friday – just not against each other.

Hardy (1-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) fights Kristina Williams (0-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) in a flyweight fight; Julaton (2-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) makes her promotional debut at flyweight against Lisa Blaine (1-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA). Bellator 185 takes place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The main card airs on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

The two professional boxers-turned-MMA fighters recently started a dance around and toward each other, and while Bellator matchmaker Rich Chou and other promotion officials were mum about whether or not they’re eyeballing a Hardy-Julaton matchup, and soon, it’s not hard to imagine that being the thinking. After all, the classic signs of fighter beef and budding rivalry are there.

It’s been a slow build on social media, Hardy said, but when she read a story about Julaton in The Telegraph that quoted Julaton saying Hardy is running from her, all bets were off.

“I believe Heather is avoiding me,” Julaton told The Telegraph. “She did in boxing. We both want the belt, but I want to fight her too. We will meet. She can run, but she can’t hide.”

And naturally, that set Hardy off when MMAjunkie asked her about it in Connecticut on Wednesday.

“Oh, now it’s a fight that’s going to happen,” Hardy said. “It’s not down (the road) – it’s going to happen as soon as possible. I never had beef. I always respected her. When I started pro boxing, within that first year of me getting acclimated to the scene and learning the girls, she had made the transition over to MMA as a professional. To me, she was one of my idols – this was a world champion. She was so outspoken and eloquent for women.

“And now all of a sudden I’m reading this (expletive) about how I’m running away from her. I’m like, ‘Who the (expletive) is she? I haven’t even heard her name in eight years.’ Right now, the focus is on Bellator 185. We can talk more about this at the post-fight press conference (Friday).”

Julaton rolled through to talk to MMAjunkie not long after Hardy did, and she was plenty happy to hear that Hardy was interested in making that fight happen – whether it be in Bellator’s cage, or in the boxing ring.

For that matter, Julaton would be fine if it was both. Both fighters have the freedom in their Bellator deals to continue their pro boxing careers when the opportunities are there, or to fight for Bellator if that’s the best option at the time.

Hardy made her pro MMA debut in June with a third-round TKO of Alice Yauger at Bellator 180 in New York. Julaton is returning after a layoff of nearly two years and is making her Bellator debut after four pro MMA fights for ONE Championship in Asia.

“It’s nice to have someone like Heather actually following in the footsteps with me – where I have a dual contract and I can fight both MMA and in boxing,” Julaton said. “It’s nice to actually have a counterpart. In the combat sports game, (Muhammad) Ali wouldn’t be Ali if it wasn’t for George Frazier and Sonny Liston. You have to have names in a division. … This is what us women need – this is what I need. So if she wants to get down, let’s get down. That’s why I’m calling her out. We want to get the show on the road. We want to get people involved. We put in a lot of work, and we want to showcase it.

“My boxing promoter, Allan Tremblay, is working alongside her boxing promoter, Lou DiBella. It’s something we’ve been trying to establish for a while. Obviously there are a lot of things that go on in the fight game, and hopefully we can materialize something as soon as the end of the year. It hasn’t been done, it’s untapped territory, and if there’s any time to take the opportunity, it’s right now. So let’s do it.”

But Hardy was a little more outspoken about the thought of running into Julaton this week, given they’re fighting back-to-back on the same card.

“These conversations have been pressing for weeks, and I’ve tactfully ignored them because I do have (Williams) to train for, and my life is like – I just got a new job, I have a kid going into high school, and then I have some pipsqueak telling me that I’m afraid to fight them,” Hardy said. “We will deal with that when it’s relevant, right? But you ask me now: I’m cranky, I haven’t eaten, I’m thirsty, I’m tired. I just read an article about how I’m running away from her, so now I’m like prime pissed off. I just said to (the Bellator PR staff), ‘I hope I don’t (expletive) see her, because I am a nasty bitch right now.’”

Bellator’s women’s flyweight division is just getting rolling, and the inaugural title is up for grabs in two weeks when Ilima-Lei Macfarlane fights Emily Ducote at Bellator 186. The winner of that fight seems like she’ll have some company at the top of the heap for attention-grabbing, though, provided the new Hardy-Julaton rivalry doesn’t die on the vine.

Check out the video above for more from both women.

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

5 reasons to watch Bellator 185, where Gegard Mousasi looks to establish dominance

Recent Bellator signee Gegard Mousasi has a simple, but ambitious plan.

“I have to beat (Alexander) Shlemenko first, then the (middleweight) title fight, then maybe a matchup against Rory MacDonald, and then maybe light heavyweight,” Mousasi told MMAjunkie.

Mousasi looks to put his plan in motion on Friday when he faces Alexander Shlemenko in the main event of Bellator 185.

In the co-main event, Zak Bucia steps in as a late injury replacement in the hopes of handing grappling star Neiman Gracie his first MMA defeat.

Also on the card is former boxer-turned MMA fighter Heather Hardy, who became a quick fan favorite with a knockout win in her Bellator debut, as she faces the debuting Kristina Williams.

Bellator 185 takes place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., and airs on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Here are five reasons to watch the event.

1. A familiar face finds a new home

As far as Bellator free-agent signings go, Mousasi is one of the biggest. A former light heavyweight champion with Strikeforce and DREAM, he can compete at both middleweight and light heavyweight. If he wants, he can also participate in the kickboxing side of Bellator. He has a 5-0 record in that sport.

At Bellator 185, Mousasi, who is on a five-fight winning streak, steps into the cage as a middleweight, the division he’s called home since 2014. According to the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA middleweight rankings, Mousasi is the No. 6 at 185 pounds.

Bellator’s middleweight division is not particularly deep right now. A win over Shlemenko (56-9 MMA, 12-3 BMMA) could put Mousasi (42-6-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) in the mix to face the winner of the December bout between champion Rafael Carvalho and former UFC fighter Alessio Sakara.

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Since losing the middleweight title in 2014, Shlemenko has fought five times in Russia and twice for Bellator. One of those Bellator fights, a knockout win over Melvin Manhoef, was changed to a no contest after Shlemenko tested positive for steroids as well as a testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio of 50-1, which is probably the reason Mousasi requested his opponent be drug tested for this contest.

Shlemenko’s most recent win under the Bellator banner came in October 2016 when he stopped Kendall Grove via TKO.

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2. Ready for the next step?

Highly decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Gracie doesn’t fight often, but when he does, he usually ends things with a submission. Since turning pro in 2013, the unbeaten welterweight with the famous surname has tapped out five of six opponents.

Gracie (6-0 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) gets a late injury replacement in this co-main event bout. Bucia (18-8 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) is the Shamrock FC welterweight champion. He won the title in May with a decision-victory over former Strikeforce/UFC fighter Bobby Voelker. Bucia is a BJJ purple belt with nine submission wins to his name. He fights well on his feet, where he uses his kicks and hand speed to keep opponents at distance.

If Bucia can prevent takedowns and keep his opponent standing, this fight could be a good indicator as to Gracie’s readiness to take a step up in competition.

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3. She seems to really like this MMA thing

After finding success in the boxing ring, Hardy decided to give MMA and debuted at Bellator 180 in June. Following her third-round TKO win over Alice Yauger, she said of MMA, “I think I just fell in love.”

Hardy started off slow in that fight, but once she found her groove she didn’t take her foot off the gas. The Brooklyn-born pugilist threw nearly 300 punches before the bout was waved off with three seconds left in the third stanza.

Now that she has a feel for the MMA game and what it takes to fight 5-minute rounds, it’s going to be interesting to see what Hardy (1-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) brings to her flyweight fight against Williams (0-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), who makes her professional debut.

That presents a bit of an odd matchup for Hardy since she just defeated a fighter who was competing in her 10th pro bout.

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4. Another boxing crossover joins Bellator

Former world champion boxer Ana Julaton returns to MMA for the first time in nearly two years at Bellator 185. Julaton, a black belt in Kenpo karate and Taekwondo, has four ONE CHAMPIONSHIP bouts on her record. Her return to MMA comes on the heels of a failed bid to land a spot on season 26 of “The Ultimate Fighter.”

It’s probably not a coincidence that Julaton, a teammate of former UFC heavyweight champion and recent Bellator signee Frank Mir, is fighting on the same card as Hardy.

“I think that would be a great fight. It would be a big money fight,” Julaton said of potential matchup against Hardy on MMAjunkie Radio. “Especially if it’s done correctly, in the right stage.”

Before Julaton (2-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) can focus on Hardy she has to get past Lisa Blaine in this flyweight matchup. Blaine (1-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) made her pro debut in June. She scored a second-round TKO in that bout under the Premier Fighting Championship banner.

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5. A hot prospect tries to stay unbeaten

Jordan Young started his Bellator career on a high note. At Bellator 171 he defeated Chris Harris by unanimous decision. The loss was the first of Harris’ career. A few months later Young (7-0 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) spoiled another fighter’s unblemished record when he submitted Tim Caron in the first round. Now 7-0, the 22-year-old American Top Team product faces Alec Hooben (5-3 MMA, 0-0 BMMA).

Young is a lanky fighter. His long limbs allow him to work from the outside and control distance on the feet. On the ground, his physique lends itself well to submissions. Five of his victories have come via first-round tapout.

There is some concern about where Young will fight in Bellator. He missed the middleweight limit in the Harris fight and this contest, like his bout against Caron, is a 195-pound catchweight affair.

The 24-year-old Hooben makes his Bellator debut on this card. He had a three-fight winning streak come to an end in his most recent bout when Mike Rodriguez knocked him out in the first round of a CES card in May.

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

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