Former Bellator MMA middleweight king Alexander Shlemenko will meet Vyacheslav Vasilevsky in the M-1 Challenge 64 headliner on Feb. 19.
Promotion officials announced the bout Sunday. The contest will be the first matchup in the M-1 Grand Prix Middleweight Tournament Series. M-1 Challenge 64 takes place at the Olympic Sports Complex in Moscow and also includes a heavyweight title tilt between Alexander Volkov and Denis Smoldarev.
Shlemenko is unable to compete in the United States due to a three-year suspension he received from the California State Athletic Commission after having an elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio at Bellator 133 against Melvin Manhoef. Shlemenko also tested positive for the steroid oxandrolone in relation to the bout. As a result, the Russian’s first-round knockout victory was overturned to a no contest, and Shlemenko has not fought since.
According to a report from Bloody Elbow, M-1 Global and Bellator reached an “amicable agreement” to enable Shlemenko to fight for the Russian promotion.
A former M-1 middleweight and light heavyweight champion, Vasilevsky enters the bout with a 27-3 career mark. The 27-year-old Fightspirit Team representative last competed in October, when he submitted Kristijan Perak with a second-round rear-naked choke at M-1 Challenge 62.