Alexander Shlemenko and Maiquel Jose Falcao Goncalves will square off for the vacant middleweight title on Feb. 7 at Bellator 88.
Sherdog.com confirmed the booking with sources close to the bout, who also verified that The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga., will play host to the event, which marks Bellator’s fourth effort of Season 8. Promotion officials have yet to release any information about the show, but it will nevertheless air live on Spike TV.
Shlemenko, 28, will take a second run at Bellator’s middleweight strap, as the Russian previously came up short in his bid to take the title from then-champion Hector Lombard after winning the Season 2 tournament in 2010. “Storm” responded by posting nine straight wins, three of which came in Bellator’s Season 5 tournament last year. On Feb. 7, the RusFighters Sport Club leader will return to the cage for the first time since an April car accident in his home country left him nursing a broken collarbone and a dislocated thumb.
Known best to fight fans as simply Maiquel Falcao, the Brazilian won Bellator’s Season 6 draw by besting Norman Paraisy, Vyacheslav Vasilevsky and Andreas Spang to earn his shot at the middleweight title. The hard-hitting Renovacao Fight Team representative has won 13 of his last 14, with only a 2011 submission defeat to Antonio Braga Neto blemishing his record dating back to March 2009. “Big Rig” owns 23 of his 31 victories by way of knockout and has gone the distance just five times in 36 career outings.