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Bruno Silva says he’s fighting Artem Frolov for the M-1 title in September

Bruno Silva is coming off a first-round victory over Alexander Shlemenko in Russia.
Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

CURITIBA, Brazil — Bruno Silva scored the biggest win of his MMA career in June, and that sort of changed his plans for the future.

Four months after stopping Gennadiy Kovalev in the opening round under the RCC banner in Russia, Silva fought former Bellator champion Alexander Shlemenko in his M-1 Global debut, and needed less than three minutes to win by knockout.

Winner of 13 of his last 14 fights, Silva says he’s returning to Russia to fight 11-0 middleweight champion Artem Frolov.

”I’ll fight Frolov for the belt on Sept. 29 in Moscow,” Silva told MMA Fighting. “I asked for the belt right after my last win and the promoter agreed to it immediately. Beating Frolov is my mission now.”

A title shot comes after an impressive finish over Shlemenko, one he didn’t expect to happen so quickly.

”He’s considered one of the best middleweights in the world, and I beat him in his house,” said Silva, who missed weight by one pound and was deducted a point. “Five rounds, they did everything for me to lose, but I went there and took him out in three minutes. Thirty thousand people in silence. You know you won’t win by points in Russia, so I had to go in there to knock him out.”

“Blindado” — which means armored in Portuguese — wants to conquer his first belt outside of Brazil at M-1 as part of his global domination that could one day lead to the UFC.

The 29-year-old middleweight was close to signing with the UFC in May 2016, being offered a chance to replace Anderson Silva on days’ notice against Uriah Hall at UFC 198 in Curitiba, but it didn’t come to fruition. “Blindado”, who extended his winning streak to 10 days after UFC 198, saw his world fall apart later that year, losing to Moise Rimbon in Lebanon.

“I lost focus, kind of underestimated the guy because I’ve fought better opponents in Brazil,” Silva said. “I was too focused on getting to the UFC, thinking about the future and forgetting about the present. That was a complicated year for me.”

The Evolucao Thai talent bounced back with a 70-second victory in Curitiba 11 months later, and that’s when Russia came around.

”Nobody wants to fight in Russia, but I wanna fight the best,” Silva said. “To get to the UFC, I have to beat the best, but I didn’t imagine that Russia would become a home for me. I’m getting paid really well there. I won the first one and knocked out Shlemenko after, and the UFC no longer a priority for me. It’s a personal dream because when I retire I wanna say I’ve fought in the biggest promotions in the world.

”I want to fight the best. Who’s the best in Russia? Who’s the best in Asia? Who’s the best in Europe? I want to beat these guys, because that’s how people remember you.”

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