This is the live blog for Alexander Shlemenko vs. Brett Cooper. Alexander Shlemenko is 38-7, and is the winner of Bellator's season two middleweight tournament. He lost the earned title fight against Hector Lombard. Brett Cooper is 13-6. He won his last fight in Bellator, defeating Matt Major by TKO.
Play-by-play provided by Bloody Elbow's Dallas G. Winston.
Round 1 - Cooper comes out with an aggressive combo, then a high kick. Shlemenko connects on a nice counter. Spinning backfist by Shlemenko partially blocked, Cooper shoots but Shlemenko circles out of range. Shlemenko finding the range with his left hook, then again as he corners Cooper against the cage. Another Cooper shot is stuffed. Spinning back-kick connects from Shlemenko. Short right elbow, then another spinning backfist from the Russian. Shlemenko nails a spinning back-kick, then bombs a spinning back-fist. Cooper returns fire and pops Shlemenko, who recovers and drives Cooper to the mat. Cooper gets to his knees and shoots on the standing Shlemenko, and eventually gets back to his feet. Another spinning back-fist from Shlemenko, who closes the round in control. Might be a 10-8 if Cooper hadn't clocked him with the counter.
SB Nation scores the round 10-9 for Alexander Shlemenko
Round 2 - Cooper shoots and it's stuffed, and Shlemenko throws a few shots as Cooper turtles. They're back standing. Cooper with the winding uppercut, then catches the cup with a low left kick. Spinning back-kick by the Russian, then a clean left hook. Shlemenko closes distance with a combo and grabs the clinch with Cooper against the fence.
Cooper still aggressive, then lands a nice right hand and now presses Shlemenko against the fence. Slight pause in action as Cooper holds Shlemenko against the fence from behind while throwing knees. Cooper transitions from underhooks to takedown attempts, then back to landing knees again. Cooper turning the tide now with control and activity. Shlemenko spins out and takes the top position, bombing a forearm to Cooper in his guard. They separate and stand, and it's the spinning back-fist again for Shlemenko. Cooper anticipates it next time, and ducks under to force a clinch, then goes for a single, now transitioning to Shlemenko's back. They trade punches until the bell. Close round with arguments for both or a 10-10.
SB Nation scores the round 10-9 for Brett Cooper.
Round 3 -The final frame starts with another spinning back-fist by Shlemenko, then a nice three-piece combo. Another spinning back-fist that hits air. Cooper's pace seriously slowed. Spinning back-fist again, this time connecting. Shlemenko advancing with punches, cornering Cooper, then another spinning back-fist. Shlemenko sprawls on a slow Cooper shot, then stands and counters. Spinning back-fist whiffs again. Cooper wades forward and Shlemenko ducks for a body lock, but lets it go and counters again. Cooper eats a knee and turtles. Cooper's punches are in slow motion and not even close. Spinning back fist again.
Shlemenko cleaves a short left elbow with Cooper backed up. Cooper scores an uppercut and stays in the fight. Two more uppercuts by Cooper, then a straight right. Cooper uppercut again. Shlemenko grabs the Thai plum, but lets it go as the fight ends. Close to another 10-8 round, but Cooper's surprising surge of uppercuts makes it a 10-9.
SB Nation scores the round 10-9 for Alexander Shlemenko, and awards him the bout 29-28.
Alexander Shlemenko defeats Brett Cooper by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-29, 29-28).