Tomorrow night Alexander Shlemenko will step inside the Bellator ring and take on slick striker Brian Rogers. For the man they call "Storm", this is the second time he has stepped inside the ring inside the last thirty days including submitting Croatian striker Zelg Galesic via Guillotine Choke in less than two minutes at Bellator 50 on September 17. His opponent is also coming off of a big win, as Rogers is known for his strong, powerful stand-up game and didn’t disappoint by finishing Victor O’Donnell via TKO at the same event.

Shlemenko Returns to Semis with Convincing Win at Bellator 50

With a victory in his bout with Rogers tomorrow night, Shlemenko will get one step closer to a rematch with Bellator middleweight champ Hector Lombard. Shlemenko lost their first meeting at Bellator 34 by a Unanimous Decision. However, the young Russian showed great promise by serving as the only opponent in Lombard’ last seven fights to take the fight to the scorecards, though still falling short because of Lombard’ wrestling and ability to keep him on the ground

In an interview with MMAConvert, Shlemenko discussed his thoughts about a rematch with Lombard and what he would try to do differently if they locked horns a second time. “It will be a completely different fight," he explained. "I’ve been practicing takedown defense, standing up from the ground a lot, (and) I’m much stronger physically now than I was when we fought. (Now) I’ll be able to defend his takedowns, he won’t be able to stall on the ground, and I (will) be able to beat him up and knock him out standing.”

However, Shlemenko still made sure to complement the dynamic Cuban as a champion and fighter, saying, “Lombard was my most difficult opponent because he was the most experienced, explosive, and strongest fighter (I've faced). I also consider Lombard to be one of the best, if not the best, middleweights in the world right now.”

Shlemenko will no-doubt look to showcase those new-found skills against Rogers tomorrow night at Bellator 54 in Atlantic City, New Jersey with Bryan Baker battling Vitor Vianna in the other semifinal scrap.

PHOTO CREDIT - BELLATOR

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