Alexander Shlemenko goes for his 13th straight win in March. | Keith Mills/Sherdog.com
Alexander Shlemenko will defend his Bellator MMA middleweight title for the third time on March 28 when he faces Season 9 tournament winner Brennan Ward at Bellator 114.
The event takes place at the Maverik Center in the Salt Lake City suburb of West Valley City, Utah. The evening’s main card airs live on Spike TV, while the preliminary offering streams immediately prior on Spike.com.
Shlemenko, 29, has not lost in more than three years, capturing the vacant Bellator middleweight belt last year after winning the Season 2 and 5 tournaments. Following his knockout victory over Maiquel Falcao to win the belt, the Russian outpointed Brett Cooper in a hard-fought rematch and then buried Doug Marshall with body blows to retain his title this past November at Bellator 109.
Ward stepped up on short notice to replace Andreas Spang in the Season 9 middleweight draw and went on to win the tournament, scoring second-round stoppages over Justin Torrey, Joe Pacheco and Mikkel Parlo. The 25-year-old suffered the lone setback of his pro career last February, when he was submitted in just 15 seconds by an Aaron Johnson armbar at Bellator 89.
Bellator 114 will additionally feature a featherweight showdown pitting Season 7 tournament finalist Rad Martinez against 29-fight pro Edson Berto. According to Martinez, the fight will be his last.
“I like to think I’ve had a pretty good career, and as I’m getting older -- I’ve got a beautiful wife and a daughter on the way -- the time is right to walk away and focus on being a husband and a father,” Martinez stated in a release. “It means so much to me that Bellator would give me my last fight in Utah so I can have a send-off in front of all my friends and family. Bellator has treated me so well through my career, and I’m incredibly proud to have my last fight in the Bellator cage.”