Bellator MMA Championship Tournaments presented their 9th season premiere, Bellator 98: Shlemenko vs Cooper 2, on Saturday, September 7, 2013, at the Mohegan Sun Casino Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The main card aired live on Spike TV as Episode 1 of Season 9 of Bellator MMA.
In the main event, Bellator Middleweight Champion Alexander Shlemenko successfully defended his 185-pound title with a grueling 25-minute battle with Brett "Fudoshin" Cooper. The two durable Bellator veterans went back and forth for 5 rounds. Despite getting stunned by Cooper a couple of times early in the fight, Shlemenko was the fresher of the two fighters going into the final round. This allowed the Russian to outwork his doggedly tired American opponent during the final stanza to seal the deal on the judges' scorecards.
Mikkel Parlo, Jason Butcher, Brennan Ward and Perry Filkins advanced to the semifinals of the Bellator Season 9 Middleweight Tournament. The semifinal brackets will feature Parlo vs Butcher and Ward vs Filkins. After his loss to Butcher, veteran fighter Giva Santana announced his retirement from MMA. The 41-year-old Brazilian, who dominated Butcher in the first round with his world class jiu jitsu, will continue to compete in BJJ, but his days of getting punched in the face for a living are now over.
Complete Results After the Break