Bellator 114 Finalized With Shlemenko vs. Ward, Grove vs. Cooper
Today, Bellator MMA finalized their March 28th 114 card, as from the Maverik Center in Utah, and it looks to be a solid night bouts.
On the night and at the event, twice defending BMMA middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko will take on Brenna Ward and in what should amount to be, a great fight.
Shlemenko is hot off a round one dismantling of Doug Marshall at Bellator 109 last November, and has recently signed a multi-year contract extension with the brand. As such, the hard hitting Russian will be well motivated to retain his championship credentials.
‘Storm’ brings an impressive 56 fights worth of experience to the cage against Ward – he’s 40 – 7 professionally – and a staggering number of T/KOs’; 29. In short and in comparison to his opponent, Shlemenko, at age 29, has it all over his 25 year old, 9 – 1, counterpart.
However, Ward brings his own chops to the table, too.
‘The Irish Bad Boy’ is an NCAA Division III All-American wrestler and apparently, has a bit of a gift for MMA. Although Ward started his career in 2008, the fact of the matter is that he really didn’t begin until 2012; going four years between his first and second bouts.
Further, Ward has a stellar finishing rate. Taking eight of his wins by way of stoppage – six T/KOs and two submissions – the BMMA Season 9 middleweight tournament champion has proven that he’s more than capable of halting his opponents in the ring.
Another fight of interest for fans might be that of Kendal Grove.
‘Da Spider’ will be making his second appearance in the promotion and is coming off of a unanimous decision win over Joe Vedepo, at last October’s Bellator 104 show. Grove is one of many former UFC stars now fighting in the brand and looking to put their careers back on track.
Grove is a talented fighter, but in his 13 losses has shown himself to have a questionable chin, some holes in his ground game and the inability to take big fights out of the judges’ hands. Regarding Grove’s 19 wins, he favors finishes over decisions (68%) and ground culls over stand-up wins (47% vs 21% respectively).
Grove’s opponent for the evening will be Brett Cooper. ‘Fudoshin’ is a 19 – 9 heavy handed banger that prefers to finish his opponents on the feet. With 12 of his 14 finishes coming by way of T/KO, Cooper could prove to be trouble for Grove’s chin.
Heading into the match, Cooper will be looking to stop a two fight losing streak, while Grove will be looking to extend his winning deuce to three fights and earn a shot at the BMMA middleweight tournament finale.
All in all, the card looks to be pretty solid and in an era where the UFC is raising their pay-per-views prices and pushing cards off onto their subscription service “Fight Pass”, a good (free) Bellator card is always welcome.
Bellator 114 will transpire live on Spike TV beginning at 9 p.m. ET/ 8 p.m. CT, with the preliminary card streaming live on Spike.com starting at 7 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. CT.
The whole card is as follows:
Middleweight Title Fight: Alexander Shlemenko – champion (49-7) vs. Brennan Ward (9-1)
Featherweight Tournament Semifinal: Desmond Green (10-2) vs. Will Martinez (9-2-1)
Featherweight Tournament Semifinal: Daniel Weichel (32-8) vs. Matt Bessette (13-4)
Middleweight Tournament Semifinal: Kendall Grove (19-13) vs. Brett Cooper (19-9)
Featherweight Feature Fight: Rad Martinez (14-3) vs. Edson Berto (17-11-1)
Lightweight Feature Fight: Justin Wilcox (13-6) vs. Jason Fischer (6-2)
Welterweight Feature Fight: Ron Keslar (11-5) vs. Jordan Smith (18-5-1)
Light Heavyweight Feature Fight: Linton Vassell (12-3) vs. Trevor Carlson (7-1)
Welterweight Feature Fight: Gavin Sterritt (5-1) vs. Mike Estus (5-1)
Welterweight Feature Fight: Aaron Wilkinson (11-6) vs. Mike Arrant (13-8)
Lightweight Feature Fight: Bubba Jenkins (6-1) vs. Sean Powers (8-4)