Honeycutt to fight Russian MMA star on cruise ship next month

Professional mixed martial arts fights usually take place in a casino or a basketball arena. Chris Honeycutt's next MMA bout will apparently be held on a cruise ship ... as part of an international economic forum to be held in Russia next month.

The former Edinboro University All-American wrestler will face Russian MMA fighter Alexander Shlemenko in what is being described as the main event at the first-ever Roscongress Vladivostok Combat Night tournament on Thursday, Sept. 5 onboard the Costa Venezia cruise ship in the Pacific port city of Vladivostok in eastern Russia, according to the Russian news agency TASS.

The Honeycutt-Shlemenko middleweight (185-pound) MMA fight is being organized by Telesport Media and the Roscongress Foundation, which describes itself as an organization "facilitating the development of Russia's economic potential, promoting its national interests, and strengthening the country's image."

Shlemenko, a 35-year-old Russian native known by the nickname "Storm," claims a pro MMA record of 58 wins and 12 defeats in a career going back 15.5 years. (Note that early in his career, he sometimes had two fights at one event.) Of those victories, 32 are by KO/TKO; 10 by submission and 16 by decision.

Shemenko's Wikipedia page describes the Russian as being "an expert in hand-to-hand combat and traditional kickboxing." The bio also says "Storm" did some Greco-Roman wrestling as a teen.

Honeycutt, 31, was a two-time state wrestling champion in two different states -- as a sophomore in Massachusetts, then as a senior in Ohio at the storied St. Edward High School in suburban Cleveland. He continued his mat career at Edinboro in Pennsylvania, where he was a two-time NCAA Division I All-American, making it to the 197-pound finals at the 2012 NCAA championships.

Honeycutt launched his pro MMA career in June 2013, crafting an overall record of 11-3, with most of those fights within the Bellator MMA organization, where he was 7-3. Honeycutt's last Bellator bout was a split decision loss to Costello van Steenis at Bellator 210 last November. He was released from his Bellator contract just last week, along with eight other fighters.

The Honeycutt-Shlemenko MMA fight is part of the 2019 Eastern Economic Forum, scheduled to be held September 4-6, 2019 in Vladivostok. According to TASS, last year's Eastern Economic Forum resulted in 220 signed agreements, contracts, memorandums and protocols worth over three trillion rubles ($46 billion). Last year's forum in Vladivostok was attended by over 6,000 delegates and 1,350 journalists from 60 countries.


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