Former Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko will be making his return to the U.S. this fall against Kendall Grove at Bellator 162. The news was first reported by ESPN, and was later confirmed by MMA Fighting.
Shlemenko last fought for Bellator in February 2015 where he knocked out Melvin Manhoef. However, that victory was overturned to a no contest after the Russian middleweight tested positive for steroids in a drug test administered on fight night. Shlemenko was subsequently suspended for a year and fined $5,000 by the California State Athletic Commission.
Unable to compete in the U.S., Shlemenko fought twice in Russia under the M-1Challenge banner, defeating Vyacheslav Vasilevsky twice. Shlemenko is currently 53-9 and one no contest as a professional fighter.
His opponent, Grove, is currently on a two-fight wining streak. His last fight was at Bellator 150 back in February where he knocked out Francisco France in the second round. Grove is currently 23-15 and one no contest as a professional fighter.
Lashley is currently on a seven-fight wining streak, with his last four wins being stoppages in the Bellator cage. The 40-year-old heavyweight last competed in November at Bellator 145, defeating James Thopmson via technical knockout.
Meanwhile, Appelt last fought in January and has stopped his last two opponents. The 33-year-old Appelt is 12-5 as a professional fighter, and 3-1 inside the Bellator cage.
Bellator 162 takes place on Oct. 21 at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tenn. Shlemenko vs. Grove will serve as the main event of the card.