Bellator issued the following on Wednesday:
Alexander Shlemenko Returns To Defend Middleweight Title Friday, September 26th At Bellator 126 From Phoenix’s Grand Canyon University Arena
Shlemenko vs. Halsey Headlines; Held vs. Pitbull Featured
Newport Beach, Calif. (August 13, 2014) – A storm is heading to Phoenix as Alexander Shlemenko will return to the Bellator cage on Friday, September 26th to defend his Bellator middleweight title against Brandon Halsey live on Spike TV from Grand Canyon University Arena. Tickets are on sale now and available at the GCU Arena Box Office, GCUArena.com or Bellator.com.
After a brief move to the light heavyweight division after challenging Tito Ortiz, Shlemenko returns to the division he has dominated, amassing a 50-8 career record, including 29 career knockouts. The Russian native will now face Bellator Middleweight Tournament winner Brandon Halsey, who enters the fight with a spotless 7-0 record, including recent victories over Brett Cooper, Joe Pacheco and Joe Yager.
The night will also feature the Lightweight Tournament Final as Patricky Pitbull will battle Marcin Held for a guaranteed title shot and a $100,000 tournament prize. Patricky earned his finals spot with dominate performances over David Rickels and Derek Campos. Held is currently riding a four-fight win streak with victories over Derek Anderson, Rodrigo Cavalheiro and Nate Jolly, and has his sights set on capturing his first Bellator title shot. The 22-year-old Polish phenom has now taken his fight training to the United States and is looking to elevate his game to the next level.
“I’m very excited for this fight, it’s been a long time coming and I’m ready to finally face Pitbull,” Held said. “I’m training at one of the best gyms in the world with Duke Roufus and Roufusport, and my sparring partners have really elevated my game. Even with my standup improving, my style isn’t going to change, I’m always going to look for the finish, but now I’m even more dangerous on my feet.”
Known across MMA as one of the best up and coming fighters in the sport, Bubba Jenkins returns to face Bellator newcomer Alejandro Villalobos in a featherweight feature fight. Known simply as “The Highlight Kid”, Jenkins has collected six finishes in his seven professional wins, and is looking to climb the featherweight ranks with a win on September 26th from Grand Canyon Arena.
Bantamweights return as Ed “Wild” West returns to the cage for the first time in over a year when he takes on Mike Richman, who is making the drop to 135 lbs. Two long time Bellator veterans, the two finishers are looking to make their mark in the division and are both closing in on title contention.
“The weight cut and training are going great,” Richman said. “I’m fired up to get back in the Bellator cage and throw some thunda’ at bantamweight and begin my title run.”
Middleweight World Title Fight: Alexander Shlemenko (50-8) vs. Brandon Halsey (7-0)
Lightweight Tournament Final: Patricky Pitbull (13-5) vs. Marcin Held (19-3)
Featherweight Feature Fight: Alejandro Villalobos (17-3) vs. Bubba Jenkins (6-1)
Bantamweight Feature Fight: Mike Richman (15-6) vs. Ed West (18-8)
For more information, visit Bellator.com, follow Bellator on Twitter @BellatorMMA, and check out Bellator on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BellatorMMA
About Bellator MMA
Bellator MMA is a leading Mixed Martial Arts organization featuring many of the best fighters in the world. Under the direction of veteran fight promoter Scott Coker, Bellator is available to nearly 500 million homes worldwide in over 140 countries. In the United States, Bellator can be seen on Spike TV, the MMA television leader. Bellator MMA is comprised of an executive team that includes top industry professionals in television production, live event orchestration, fighter development/relations, venue procurement, sponsorship creation/development, international licensing, marketing, advertising, publicity and commission relations. Bellator is based in Newport Beach, California. Bellator’s majority owner is entertainment giant Viacom, home to the world’s premier entertainment brands that connect with audiences through compelling content across television, motion picture, online and mobile platforms.
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