Shlemenko to fight Manhoef in upcoming Bellator MMA event

Former Bellator MMA middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko shares with Imagine TV Network about his first time in the ring and why anger is his motivation.

Words by Imagine TV Network

Russian MMA fighter Alexander Schlemenko says he was eight when he stepped into the ring for the first time and ended up being placed second in a championship fight in Omsk, Oblast, Russia. Asked how he felt then, he says, "I kind of enjoyed fighting but that's about it."

Image credit: KIX & KIX HD

Seven years later, with Muay Thai as his combat sport, he began training and competing in martial arts events. He contrasts his first fight with his professional debut in 2004 and shares that the fight was over in 40 seconds. "I won very fast and I earned some money doing so. That's why I like it."

He won by technical mark out and remembers the date as clear as day. "My first professional MMA bout took place in my home city of Omsk, Russia on September 19, 2004."

He remarks that he enjoys fighting and puts in a lot of hard work to prepare for every fight. " I train all the time to be in good shape," he adds. He starts his regular training days at 10am and begins with either crossfit training or various cardiovascular training. He then takes a break and goes home to eat and snatch a few hours of sleep.

At 3pm, he has another meal and prepares for his MMA training at 5pm. After dinner, he spends the night with his family and then goes to bed. Throughout his career, he says he receives constant support from his father, his wife and his younger brother. "I try to take my family with me when I travel, he says." When he is unable to do so, he keeps in touch with them via Skype once a day."

Image credit: KIX & KIX HD

Shlemenko has clocked 51 wins in 60 fights and explains why he likes MMA by saying, "I like MMA because of the set of rules that is in MMA that allows me to do a lot of different things." He does not consider himself a technical fighter but fights with his spirit. That is also the reason for his high number of wins, he believes. "I am always ready to fight to the end."

He will fight knockout artist Melvin Menhoef in the upcoming Bellator MMA event and as a fellow striker, he says that technical knockout (TKO) and knockout (KO) are the most effective ways to fight.

The 31-year-old fighter has won more than half of his fights with TKO/KO and says his previous training in army hand-to-hand combat also complemented his MMA training.

He explains that that they have similar rules and attributes his ease in utilizing those techniques to the "huge experience" he gained while competing. "I was able to use it right in my professional martial arts career."

Having initially won the title of middleweight champion by defeating Maiquel Falcao, the subsequent loss of his title angers him and he is focused on winning it back.

"Right now, my main motivation is the fact that I lost the title in Bellator and... My main motivation is to get my title back... That is what made me angry, that is what made me work hard.

Those that has never stood in the ring and fight, he says they should not make an expert out of themselves if they do not know what they are talking about.

"For people who never competed. MMA might look [or] feel much easier that it really is. But when you actually train and when you fight, it is a really tough sport and the fight could end any second."

As part of MMA Mondays, Bellator MMA will air first and exclusively on KIX (Starhub Cable TV Channel 518 & Singtel TV Channel 309) at 10pm from 16 February 2015.



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