Bellator 208: Alexander Shlemenko Wants More Fights, Unhappy With Lack of Offers

Bellator 208 Alexander Shlemenko Anatoly Tokov
Credit: Dan Doherty/

Former Bellator champion Alexander Shlemenko has been fighting in Russia more frequently than the United States recently, and is unhappy with that trend.

At today’s Bellator 208 press conference, Alexander Shlemenko was asked if he was fighting a fellow countryman, Anatoly Tokov, simply to finish his contract with Bellator. In response, Shlemenko stated, “Look at my career, I have fought for Bellator three times in the last three years, that’s one fight per year. Of course, I don’t like that and we addressed this with Bellator and asked for fights many times but we were not given them. So we told them I’ll fight anyone from 170 to 185, and when they offered Tokov, I took the fight because I told them I’ll fight anybody.”

Alexander Shlemenko was the promotion’s champion from 2013 to 2014, defending the title three times. After losing a non-title bout to Tito Ortiz, and then losing his belt to Brandon Halsey, Shlemenko won a fight with EFN before returning to the states to battle Melvin Manhoef. Shlemenko won by KO, but failed a post-fight drug test and was suspended by the California State Athletic Commission for three years. While the suspension was overturned, it was enough to spur Shlemenko to take five of his next seven fights with M-1 Global.

Shlemenko’s relationship with Bellator has seemingly soured following the Russian’s impressive title reign which included three stoppages in four fights. He was called back to the cage to welcome Gegard Mousasi to the promotion, and produced a very close fight that he came out on the wrong side of. With Mousasi holding the middleweight belt now, it is unclear what Shlemenko’s place in the division is.

This weekend, however, he will fight the impressive Anatoly Tokov, who is 2-0 with a pair of stoppages since moving to Bellator. The fight will be the second on the main card which starts at 9:00 p.m. EST on Saturday from the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.