Bellator may not have been able to successfully nab top UFC lightweight contender Gilbert Melendez this week but they have re-signed their own long time middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko. The promotion announced Monday that the 29 year old Russian champion has signed a new multi-year, multi-fight contract with Bellator.
“Bellator has been my home for many years, and it’s where I want to be,” Shlemenko said.
“[Bellator CEO] Bjorn Rebney made me a promise and he lived up to that promise to provide me with a new deal. I have made a home here at Bellator, and I will continue to represent Russia in my efforts in the cage...I will enjoy being Bellator’s longest running champion. I will continue wearing that belt with honor during my time with Bellator, which will now be at the peak of my career.”
Rebney praised Shlemenko in a statement, calling him "one of the most dominant champions in MMA."
"It’s an honor to have him fight in this organization," Rebney went on.
"I look forward to watching his career continue inside the Bellator cage for years to come.”
Shlemenko will next defend his title against season 9 tournament winner Brennan Ward March 28. The champion is on a twelve fight win streak and has not lost since dropping a decision to Hector Lombard in 2010.