Bellator 109 Sneak Peek: Alexander Shlemenko (-310) vs. Doug Marshall (+255)

Bellator-89 The main event of Bellator 109 features a five-round fight for the Bellator middleweight championship between champion Alexander Shlemenko and challenger Doug Marshall. The current betting line for the bout at Several Bookmakers list Shlemenko as a -310 betting favorite (bet $310 to win $100) and the comeback on Marshall is +255 (bet $100 to win $255). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Shlemenko as a -380 favorite and Marshall as a +260 dog, meaning there has been small action on the underdog so far. I agree with the way the line has moved, as I believe there is slight value on Marshall as a dog. Here’s why. Shlemenko (48-7) is one of the most underrated middleweights in the world and one of the very best fighters on the entire Bellator roster. The 29-year-old is currently riding an 11-fight win streak with a 6-0 record while fighting in Bellator, including a KO win over Maiquel Falcao earlier this year that saw him capture the vacant Bellator middleweight world championship. Shlemenko is a quality fighter in every area of the game, and in his last fight against Brett Cooper in September, the two combined to put on one of the best fights of the year. However, the fight was a five-round war that saw Shlemenko get hit a lot and I have a feeling that Shlemenko is possibly coming back too soon. Yes, he’s a tough-as-nails Russian, but he is also a human being and I don’t know if his body can survive any more punishment in 2013. Realistically, I wish Bellator had kept him out until 2014, but I understand they needed a headliner for this year-end card and the fight between Shlemenko and Marshall has the potential to be excellent violence. Marshall (18-6) has been nothing short of exceptional in Bellator, going 4-0 in the promotion to capture the season nine middleweight tournament crown and get a shot at the title. The 36-year-old former WEC light heavyweight champion is an extremely hard puncher, and since making his Bellator debut, his trademark right hand and his aggressiveness have helped him win four consecutive fights as an underdog. He’s an underdog here against Shlemenko, but this time no one is sleeping on him, and how can you when he’s looked so damn impressive. Should this bout it make it past the first five minutes, there’s no doubt that Shlemenko takes it but I see this fight being a slugfest and I don’t even think it gets out of the first round. And the first round is where Marshall is so dangerous. So if these two stand and trade like I think they will, it’s anyone’s fight. And given the combination of Marshall having all the momentum coming into this fight and Shlemenko coming off a war, I have to lean towards Marshall in a firefight situation, and that’s why I am picking him to win the Belllator middleweight championship with an impressive knockout victory over Shlemenko. At the end of the day, this is Doug Marshall and he isn’t the most reliable fighter in the world and he certainly doesn’t have the best chin. Plus, Shlemenko is a quality opponent. So I don’t think you can go too crazy, but a small straight play on Marshall here as a +255 dog may be a worthwhile bet as I believe this fight will end up being more competitive than the line suggests, at least early on, and ultimately it may come down to whose chin holds up better. For +255, I’ll take a shot that it’s his. I would also say the UNDER 1.5 rounds total should be considered here as well.

Written by Adam Martin.

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