Before Paul Bradley battles Alexander Shlemenko for M-1 Challenge in Russia this weekend, the UFC/Bellator/WSOF vet sat down with MMA Mad.
Q: How did this fight come together?
A: It came out of nowhere. My manager, Jason House of Iridium Sports Agency, came to me and said, “they’re looking for an opponent for Shlemenko, preferably an American wrestler.” Shlemenko is a stubborn Russia but his big losses have all been to wrestlers. I think he wants to prove he can beat a wrestler and they were looking for an opponent. I just want to get back in there, get over the hump, and get back to work.
Q: How excited are you to be going to Russia?
A: I’m pretty excited and a little nervous. I’ve probably watched Rocky IV four or five times, now. Like I said, I’m expecting the worst, hoping for the best. It’s definitely going to be a bout for him and not for me, but it’s not that I haven’t ever done it before. Like when I went into Chris Honeycutt’s house in Fresno and beat the shit out of him. I’m just looking forward to it and they say it’s a business trip – go over there, fight, win, and get the hell out.
Q: Are you approaching this fight any differently or business as usual?
A: Strategy-wise? A little bit. We know he’s a very good striker – a very tough Russian. But we know his weakness is wrestling. That being said, I’m pretty sure he’ll have a game plan for me and I just have to ground, pound, and beat the shit out of him. When I’m down at 170, I’m one of the biggest, strongest guys of the weight. So I’m able to dictate where I want to fight. But with this fight, we all know his Achilles’ heel is wrestling and that’s where I intend to put him.
Q: Are you paying attention to the political goings-on between Russia and the USA? Or are you not so much a political guy?
A: I did see where Putin said that their Russian whorehouses are the best in the world, to Trump (laughs). Nah, I don’t really pay much attention. The good thing is, from what I’ve heard, is that they do like Trump. With that being said hopefully I don’t draw too hostile of a crowd, out there.