Ah, now we see why Mayhem Miller wanted back into Mark Munoz’s Reign Training Center.
Whatever fighter Brett Cooper was prior to enlisting with Munoz, he’s apparently kidnapped that fighter and held it for ransom in an attempt to be an astronomically improved version of his former self. From a cognitive standpoint, that last sentence makes absolutely no sense, but if I didn’t tell you, then you would have never known.
Up until the fifth round, I had the fight absolutely even. I gave the first two rounds to Cooper and the last three to Shlemenko. Both fighters were rocked at some point in the fight, except when Shlemenko almost went down, the guy got back on his feet and held his arms up as if he was some Russian sadomasochistic.
A couple things you could tell Munoz really hammered into Cooper’s psyche. The first of which is to always keep your hands up. You never know when Shlemenko can come at you with some unorthodox punch or spinning backfist. It also appears that Munoz instructed Cooper to throw a short counter uppercut whenever Shlemenko went in for an overhand right because, as with all Russian fighters, their heads tend to dip. Both techniques worked for Cooper, and it appeared we would have an upset tonight at Bellator 98.
In the fifth round, Shlemenko started to take down Cooper at will, which pretty much cemented the win and ultimately his Bellator middleweight strap. Everyone should take this time to admit that you thought Shlemenko would run over Cooper, and by the end of round two you had your fork and knife ready to eat crow. Valiant effort by Cooper, but in the end Shlemenko is a Frate Trane.
Check out the round-by-round highlights, compliments of @Internetican. Unfortunately no fifth round .gif. Bummer.