Alexander Shlemenko knocked out Maiquel Falcao in the second round of their title fight on Thursday night to become Bellator's Middleweight World Champion in the main event at Bellator 88 in Atlanta, Georgia.
A true international event pitched the Russian Shlemenko against Brazilian, Falcao. Both men had previously won the Bellator middleweight tournament and so a showdown between the two was only natural after the then current champion, Hector Lombard, left the Bellator organization in favor of the UFC.
The fight started tentatively with both fighters traded blows and kicks while staying on their feet. Shlemenko took Falcao to the ground late in the first round but couldn't get anything going and the referee didn't tolerate too much inactivity before standing them up again.
The second round opened up with more activity from both fighters trying to score points with a variety of kicks. Switching from open kicks to a clinch Shlemenko worked the inside and landed several good punches and a couple of good knees to Falcao's stomach and chest.
A strong right put Falcao down, Shlemenko followed him down, hit him first to the body and then a right and left to the head which was enough to win the fight.
After receiving the belt, to the crowd in Atlanta and the national TV audience Shlemenko had this to say, "I am champion of Bellator. I am face of Bellator now. Who want with belt? Come on with cage. I am beat you."
With the win, Shlemenko's record improved to 47-7 MMA and 8-1 BFC while Falcao fell to 31-8 and 3-1 BFC.