Alexander Shlemenko took everything he could from Brett Cooper and narrowly defeated him via unanimous decision to retain his Bellator Middleweight Championship.

Bellator 98 #3

Both fighters opened the contest feeling each other out with some strikes. Shlemenko stood tall in the middle of the cage with Cooper darting in-and-out with some light kicks. Whenever Shlemenko tried to fully engage Cooper would immediately back away.

Midway through the round Shlemenko started landing some heavy body kicks that kept Cooper against the fence. Shlemenko maintained his position in the center of the cage when Cooper went for a take down which landed him on his knees.

As the round came to a close Cooper caught Shlemenko with a nice left hook. Cooper kept pushing Shlemenko back into the cage but was unable to capitalize as the round came to a end.

The second round opened with Shlemenko the aggressor again holding the middle of the Bellator cage. Cooper continued to strike effectively though which forced Shlemenko to start throwing some odd combinations.

Midway through the round Shlemenko landed a beautiful spinning-back-fist but Cooper countered and cut Shlemenko. After a short scramble, Cooper pushed Shlemenko to the cage and started working for a take down but was unsuccessful.

As the round came to a close Cooper landed a solid series of uppercuts that put the champion to the cage once again. Cooper finished the round with an amazing flurry of shots but was unable to finish before the bell.

The third round opened with Shlemenko being the aggressor by throwing a nice combination which dropped Cooper momentarily. Shlemenko  continued to work body shots on Cooper as he kept him against the cage. Cooper eventually got off the cage by tagging Shlemenko with a vicious upper cut.

As the round wore on Shlemenko continued to push the pace and get into Coopers face. Cooper started landing some good shots, but Shlemenko started taunting Cooper mid-punch. Shlemenko then landed a series of knees that put Cooper back into the cage and the clinch again.

As the round came to a close Shlemenko continued to batter Cooper with strikes until Cooper grabbed a double and pushed Shlemenko back into the cage. Cooper eventually landed the take down and Shlemenko immediately got back up. The two finished the third round swinging till the bell rang.

The fourth round opened with Shlemenko once again taking the center of the cage and hammering Cooper with a shot that pushed him into the cage. From there the two flurried and Shlemenko grabbed clinch and landed several solid knees. Cooper eventually got back on his feet but was quickly pushed back into the cage again. Shlemenko continued to reign blows as Cooper kept wrapping Shlemenko up into a clinch.

As the round progressed, Shlemenko continued to pick Cooper apart from the center of the cage. Cooper was really struggling to keep the offense going as Shlemenko kept pushing him into the back of the cage. Shlemenko started to tire a little bit and Cooper used that as his entrance and landed a series of unanswered blows.

As the round came to a close Shlemenko recovered from Cooper’s small barrage and once again pushed Cooper into the cage. As the bell rang Shlemenko once again had Cooper up against the cage and landed a spinning back kick as the bell rang.

As the fifth and final round began Shlemenko once again took the center of the cage and landed a solid straight right that wobbled Cooper a bit. From there Shlemenko grabbed the clinch and started working body shots.  Cooper once again got pushed off and went for a take down but was unable to secure Shlemenko’s leg.

Midway through the round the two continued to work the clinch against the cage with Cooper getting the better of the exchanges. Cooper once again went for a take down but got stuck in Shlemenko’s arms. Shlemenko then pushed Cooper off of him and took the center of the cage again.

With under two minutes left Shlemenko grabbed a quick take down, which Cooper wasted no time getting up from. From there both guys started landing heavy shots on one another with Shlemenko getting the better of the exchanges. Both fighters took the center of the cage again with Shlemenko sneaking in a late take down and battering Cooper with shots as the fight came to a close.

Alexander Shlemenko takes the unanimous decision victory and retains his Bellator Middleweight Championship.

Bellator 98 Results:
Alexander Shlemenko def. Brett Cooper via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)
Mikkel Parlo def. Brian Rogers via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
Jason Butcher def. Giva Santana via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 1:12
Brennan Ward def. Justin Torrey via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 3:28
Perry Filkins def. Jeremy Kimball via SUB (rear-naked choke) – Round 3, 4:18
Derek Anderson def. Patricky Pitbull via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Jeff Nader vs. Mike Mucitelli declared no contest (unintentional eye poke)
Josh Diekman def. Parker Porter via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 1:12
Ryan Quinn def. Brylan Van Artsdalen via submission (arm triangle) – Round 1, 2:34
Matt Bessette def. Nick Piedmont via TKO (strikes) Round 1, 1:41
Rico Disciullo def. Glenn Allair via KO (punch) – Round 1, 1:21