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That’s the way Bellator commentator Jimmy Smith sees Friday’s Bellator 185 headliner.
“Anyone who’s decided, ‘I’m going to stand on the feet and show this Russian that I can knock him out’ has ended up flat on their back,” Smith said for “Bellator Foundations,” which previews upcoming matchups on the Spike-televised event at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
Mousasi (42-6-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) makes his Bellator debut after a high-profile defection from the UFC, where a five-fight win streak helped him climb to No. 6 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA middleweight rankings.
The Dutch-Armenian fighter will compete in his 51st professional MMA bout. But in the cage, he is in the rare position of facing an opponent that’s more experienced.
Shlemenko (56-9 MMA, 12-3 BMMA), who will fight his 67th MMA bout, has won six of his past seven bouts. Long the face of Bellator’s middleweight division before upset losses to Tito Ortiz and Brandon Halsey, his career hit a snag with a positive drug test that held him up in court.
Now, Shlemenko is on a mission to reclaim the gold he lost. A win over Mousasi would be a huge feather in his cap.
Depending on Mousasi’s approach to the fight, Smith thinks the Russian has a good chance to get in line for a title shot.
“Mark my words, I don’t care who you are. If you stand and trade with Alexander Shlemenko, you are rolling the dice,” Smith said. “And the chances that it comes out in your favor are very slim.”
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