It was a night of big finishes at Bellator 50 as the beginning of the Season 5 Bellator Middleweight Tournament boasted three finishes out of the four quarterfinal matches.
Bryan Baker put an exclamation point on a sensational night of fights and turned in a stellar performance against Season 1 Middleweight Tournament Finalist Jared Hess. Both men were committed to takedowns but Baker was able to outwork Hess on the mat. Baker secured two anaconda chokes and attempted a rear naked choke more than once, but in the end it was an exciting ground and pound finish by Baker who sunk in his hooks from rear mount and flattened out Hess until there was no escape from his ground assault.
Alexander Shlemenko showed that he is a complete mixed martial artist and used a standing guillotine choke to submit Zelg Galesic at 1:55 of the first round and as a result will advance to the semifinals of the tournament.
Bryan Rogers defeated Victor O’Donnell by ground and pound as well, but it was a questionable stoppage after Rogers dropped his opponent with a head kick and a barrage of punches. The straight right was the shot that put O’Donnell down and after a number of unanswered punches the referee ran right in to waive a stop to the contest.
In the closest fight of the night, Vitor Vianna edged Sam Alvey by split decision. Alvey opened a cut on Vianna and landed a number of jabs and leg kicks, but Vianna controlled the pace and the judges eventually awarded the Brazilian the victory.
The competition will only get tougher as Baker, Shlemenko, Rogers and Vianna advance to the semifinals. All of these men are working for a shot at reigning Bellator Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard. The semifinals will feature Rogers taking on Shlemenko, and Baker meeting Vianna.
“We saw some great finishes tonight from some very exciting Middleweights,” said Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney. “Shlemenko’s first round finish shows his spectacular striking game now has a submission companion and Brian Rogers again, looked very, very explosive.”
Bellator Fighting Championships will return next Saturday, September 24 as Bellator 51 comes to the Canton Civic Center in Ohio for the first leg of the Bellator Bantamweight Tournament. Fans can look forward to current featherweight champion Joe Warren taking on the undefeated Alexis Vila as he drops down to 135 pounds and attempts to become the first person in history to hold two Bellator titles at the same time.
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