In 2016 after two epic fights against Vyacheslav Vasilevski which will always be one of the best fights in Russian MMA history, Alexander Shlemenko came back to Bellator and destroyed his opponent Kendall Grove.
A lot of was was done after that to make the fight between Shlemenko and Ramazan Emeev in spring of 2017, but unfortunately Ramazan got injured and pulled out of the fight.
M-1 put a lot of efforts into making the rematch with Brandon Halsey, but American fighter informed that there is not enough time for him to make weight. After that M-1 matchmakers negotiated with the other top middleweights, and eventually the pick was made in the favor of the most experienced and deserving opponent.
It was Ring of Combat champion Paul “Gentleman” Bradley, who had 23 victories in 30 pro fights, multiple fights in UFC and Strikeforce and very impressive list of victories in Bellator. When Paul was studying in the college, he was in TOP-4 wrestlers of his weight class nationwide in the USA.
“Gentleman” was well-known thanks to his incredible toughness, granite chin and high-level skills both in stand-up and on the ground. He had huge fighting experience against the top opponents in the best promotions and it all made him very serious opponents even for the true MMA star like Alexander Shlemenko. Bradley’s style was quite similar to the style of Brendan Halsey, who was one step away from the second fight against Shlemenko.