It didn’t take long for newly signed Gegard Mousasi to get a fight signed in his new home of Bellator MMA. As reported by GNP1.de, and confirmed on tonight’s Bellator 181 broadcast, Mousasi is being paired up in a bout against former Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko later this year. The fight will be the main event of Bellator 185. EPIC MMA’s Giovanni Tjin was first to break the news, citing a date in October for the fight.
Breaking ℹ: Just confirmed with a source that @mousasi_mma will indeed face @StormShlemenko for his Bellator debut on the 20th of October ! pic.twitter.com/0rb5K8E0mP
— Giovanni Tjin ?? (@TjinMMA) July 14, 2017
Mousasi stated via his official Facebook page that a fight announcement would be coming soon. The news was confirmed Friday during Bellator 181, with the promotion also announcing King Mo vs. Liam McGeary at light heavyweight for the Bellator 185 card on October 20. Mousasi’s arrival is great news for the middleweight division in Bellator, which is arguably one of the promotion’s shallowest.
Mousasi (42–6–2) ran up five straight wins in the UFC prior to exiting the company and joining Bellator this month. His final UFC bout was a TKO finish of former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman. Unfortunately, despite a stellar record and popularity with fans, Mousasi never received much of a push from the promotion, and was left mostly out of title picture talk. That won’t be the case in Bellator, with Mousasi’s old boss Scott Coker at the helm.
Alexander Shlemenko (56–9 (1)) ruled the roost in Bellator’s middleweight division up until 2014, when he went up in weight to meet Tito Ortiz in a losing effort at light heavyweight. Upon his return to 185lbs, he lost his belt to Brandon Halsey, then found himself suspended following a failed drug test coming out of Bellator 133 in February 2015.
However, a year later he was fighting under the M-1 banner in Russia, and returned to Bellator last fall, defeating Kendall Grove. He’s currently on a five fight winning streak. In an interview with Russia’s RT earlier this week, Shlemenko said he was open to fighting Mousasi but he’d “be more motivated if the fight with Mousasi were for the belt.” It’s likely, however, that the winner of Mousasi vs. Shlemenko will be getting the next title shot.
Bellator 185 will take place at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT on October 20.