Not long after Bellator unveiled it’s tournament championship replacement clause, the promotion has been forced to put it to work, as Doug Marshall has broken his hand and will be unable to fight middleweight champ Alexander Shlemenko on September 7th. As a result, and thanks to the aforementioned clause, Brett “Fudoshin” Cooper will battle the renowned striker for his championship belt.
Cooper (19-8) was KO’d by Marshall in the finale for Bellator’s last middleweight tournament, which went down in April. Prior to the loss, the vet had scored wins over Norman Paraisy and Dan Cramer to lock up a spot in the finals. The Kings MMA fighter is on a six fight winning streak.
“My goal has always been the same, get the belt,” Cooper said. “I’m always making improvements and this is an incredible opportunity I’m not going to pass up. When we fought in 2011, it was an absolute war, and I’ve grown into a much different fighter over the last few years. I’m 26 years old, and this is my time to take the next step.”
Shlemenko (47-7), meanwhile, is coming off yet another stoppage win, as in February he KO’d Maiquel Jose Falcao Goncalves at Bellator 88 to extend his win streak to 10.
Here is the entire line-up for Bellator 98, which will be hosted by Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Arena and will be broadcast on SPIKE.
Bellator Middleweight World Title Fight: Alexander “Storm” Shlemenko (47-7) vs. Brett Cooper (19-8)
Bellator Bantamweight Feature Fight: Joe Warren (8-3) vs. Nick Kirk (10-2)
Bellator Middleweight Tournament Opening Round: Justin Torrey (7-0) vs. Andreas Spang (8-3)
Bellator Middleweight Tournament Opening Round: Perry Filkins (7-1) vs. Jeremy Kimball (10-3)
Bellator Middleweight Tournament Opening Round: Brian Rogers (10-5) vs. Mikkel Parlo (9-1)
Bellator Middleweight Tournament Opening Round: Jason Butcher (6-0) vs. Giva Santana (18-2)
Lightweight Feature Fight: Derek Anderson (8-0) vs. Patricky Pitbull (10-4)
Light Heavyweight Feature Fight: Jeff Nader (5-5) vs. Mike Mucitelli (5-0)
Middleweight Feature Fight: Dave Vitkay (12-12) vs. Brennan Ward (5-1)
Lightweight Feature Fight: Andrew Calandrelli (6-3) vs. Ryan Quinn (7-4-1)
Featherweight Feature Fight: Nick Piedmont (8-3-1) vs. Matt Bessette (11-4)
Bantamweight Feature Fight: Glenn Allair (3-1) vs. Riso Disciullo (debut)
Heavyweight Feature Fight: Josh Diekman (12-5) vs. Parker Porter (5-3)