(“Sure, Wandy, I’ll pose for your cameras. Just stop sending me those insane evites to your kid’s birthday party.” Photo via OneRound.)
Thanks to a last-second hand injury, Bellator season 8 middleweight tournament winner Doug Marshall was forced to withdraw from his Bellator 98 title fight against Alexander Shlemenko in September. Marshall was quickly replaced by the man he KO’d in the semifinals, Brett Cooper, who proceeded to stand toe-to-toe with Shlemenko in one of the greatest fights of 2013. But now that Marshall’s hand has been cleared to resume its daily routine of caving in skulls, Bellator announced earlier today that Shlemenko vs. Marshall has been rescheduled for Bellator 108 on November 15th.
Marshall spoke with MMAJunkie after the fight was given the go ahead and seemed more than eager to prove that his fists are still capable of doing horrible, horrible things to peoples faces:
I’m super excited about this fight. I was bummed when I had to watch Brett Cooper take my spot because of my injury, but after watching the fight, I was able to see that there is no way Shlemenko can beat me. The only thing Shlemenko has is that he is tough. There is no doubt in my mind that I am the most powerful middleweight in the division. As soon as Shlemenko feels my fist on the side of his face, he will be sleeping on the mat. Winning this fight is a no-brainer for me.
Honestly, Marshall’s recent run of destruction might be the most unexpected career turnaround this side of Mark Hunt. “The Rhino” practically dropped of the face of the earth after losing his WEC light heavyweight title to an up and coming knockout machine known as Brian Stann back in 2008, and spent the next few years toiling away in smaller, California-based promotions. He finally emerged from hiding at Super Fight League 3, only to be brutally KO’d via flying knee by Zelg Galesic in the opening minute of their fight. Most MMA fans wrote the former champion off at that point, which makes his current 4-0 run in Bellator (with 3 wins coming by way of KO) all the more surprising.
Will 2013 truly prove to be the year of the Rhino? Give us your thoughts in the comments section.