The Bellator middleweight tournament features one fighter who could throw a wrench into the plans of any other competitor in the tournament.

Former WEC light heavyweight champion Doug Marshall made his Bellator tourney debut at Bellator 89 against Andreas Spang and won against one of the best fighters in this season’s tournament. The victory was yet another knockout performance for the former champ, who now owns 11 of his 16 victories by knockout.

Still, it’s tough to say whether or not he can make a run in the tournament now that he is in the semifinals. While the remaining fighters in the tournament aren’t names that jump off the page at you, everyone and anyone is a threat.

Marshall is the most notable name left in the tournament and has the clear advantage heading into the next round. The thing about Marshall that sets him apart is his experience as a champion in a high-profile organization. Although Marshall held WEC gold back when the UFC had just purchased the promotion, the WEC still produced some great fighters in that era. The experience of holding the title therefore gives him a mental edge in this tournament.

Not only is his experience an advantage, but so is his knockout power. That is one aspect of his game that all competitors must fear. Marshall is always going to be one punch away from the win, and knocking out Spang in the previous round should be warning enough to the rest of the field.

Marshall is an excellent addition to the tournament, and his knockout power and experience are certainly something to watch. Now, whether this tournament advantage translates to an advantage over Bellator champion Alexander Shlemenko is an entirely different question.

Shlemenko is a dangerous fighter in his own right and can beat just about anybody in the middleweight division, regardless of promotion. The experience advantage that Marshall possesses over the rest of the tournament participants is essentially gone against a man like Shlemenko, who has 54 professional fights, owns the Bellator title right now and has won many tournaments in the past.

Not only that, but Shlemenko is a dangerous fighter with whom to stand and trade. Much like Marshall, Shlemenko possesses dangerous power, and banking on a knockout against the Russian is a terrible idea for anybody. If Hector Lombard couldn’t finish him off, it’s doubtful that Marshall will. It would take one really nicely placed shot and a stroke of luck to pull it off.

Winning the tournament would be enough to at least claim a resurgence in the career of Marshall. Everything should be taken in short strides. While winning the title would be a great thing for Marshall’s career, beating a field of tough Bellator tournament-worthy opponents is enough to signal a revival. These tournament participants are chosen for a reason, and many end up surprising and upsetting major opponents.

Photo: Doug Marshall (L) (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

About The Author

Sal DeRose
Staff Writer

Sal hails from New Jersey and is currently training for his first MMA fight. He hopes to use his knowledge and insight to generate articles that interest and entertain you. Outside of MMA, Sal is a big fan of every other sport. He's a diehard New York sports fan, with the exception of cheering for the Packers.