Shlemenko vs Vasilevsky
Alexander Shlemenko’s strong point is clearly his striking arsenal, with KO power in all “eight limbs” (hands,
elbows, feet and knees). Shlemenko also has an excellent chin, only having been knocked out once in 60 MMA
bouts. His weaker performances have come against larger powerful wrestlers, such as Brandon Halsey and
active boxing game.
Both fighters have excellent stamina and are usually able to successfully deal with setbacks during a
fight. Vasilevsky was able to demonstrate this in his last bout, against Kristijan Perak.
Vasilevsky’s tendency to box, and to receive head strikes while boxing, is likely to be his undoing. I believe he’ll
pursue a more crowd-pleasing standup battle, which should result in a KO win for Shlemenko.
Volkov vs Smoldarev
Alexander Volkov is a devastating striker when allowed to fight at his distance. Not unlike Alexander
Shlemenko, Volkov’s worst performances have come against grapplers who can close the distance and apply
strong pressure, including Vitaly Minakov. The presence of ropes instead of a cage should allow for better
freedom of movement by Volkov. Pressure against the cage was a factor in his loss to Cheick Kongo.
Denis Smoldarev has rudimentary striking by comparison. But his smothering grappling style, including body-
lock takedowns, could be the path to a victory via decision, ground-and-pound, or submission.
There are some intangibles, such as Volkov’s recent grappling training, which could grant him sufficient
rear-naked choke, which is also how Smoldarev suffered his single loss, against Marcin Tybura. Fighting in his
home of Moscow should heavily count in Volkov’s favor.
always start on the feet. That is where Volkov will have five reasonably good chances to win this championship
bout by KO.