Bryan Baker was true to his nickname against Jared Hess at Bellator 50. | Photo: Keith Mills
“The Beast” overcame early adversity Saturday night at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino to earn a third-round stoppage over Hess in a dominant display of offensive grappling.
The 25-year-old Baker, now based out of Denver, had Hess on his back early, as the former Central Oklahoma University wrestler threatened with a rear-naked choke within the first minute of the fight. However, Baker showed defensive savvy to not just escape, but to roar back in the first round with two deep brabo choke attempts, one of which was only cut short by the bell.
Baker's submission game was key.
The grueling physical nature of the fight sapped Hess. After being controlled in the clinch and from the front headlock for most of the fight, Baker's third-round mount proved too much to overcome. Hess hung on, squirming just enough to keep referee Jorge Alonso from intervening, but “The Beast” refused to relent. The end finally came at 2:52 of the final round.
Baker, who is in remission from chronic myelogenous leukemia with which he was diagnosed in April 2010, moved his career mark to 16-2, and likely cemented himself as the early tournament favorite heading into the semifinals. However, Baker's Season 2 conqueror, Alexander Shlemenko, did his part to earn 185-pound attention, surprising Croatia's Zelg Galesic by submission.
Galesic clinched quickly with Shlemenko, perhaps expecting a clinch
striking war. Instead, the Omsk, Russia, native tripped the
Croatian kickboxer to the mat, instigating a fight of a different
Shlemenko guillotined Galesic.
Shlemenko, now 41-7, has won 10 of his last 11 bouts with eight stoppages. His lone loss in that nearly two-year span was in his Bellator middleweight title challenge against Hector Lombard last October.
Rogers looked every bit as predatory as his nickname and previous
fights would suggest, immediately getting in the face of his Ohioan
opponent with head kicks, hooks and uppercuts. It was a heavy left
hook from O'Donnell, however, that really got the ball rolling,
instigating heavier brawling and swinging from the like-minded
Rogers took it to O'Donnell.
“Don't boo me, give me my time to shine,” Rogers implored the Seminole Hard Rock crowd, surely after a questionable stoppage. “Honestly, I was surprised that the ref stopped it, but that's what I do: I finish fights.”
The 27-year-old Rogers has now won seven straight bouts, with all seven coming by way of first-round knockout.
Vianna slipped by Alvey.
The third round was a nip-tuck affair, as both fighters landed punches and kicks tit-for-tat. However, after 15 minutes, judges Rich Green and Hector Gomez saw the contest 29-28 for Vianna, who moved to 11-1-1. Dissenting judge John Rupert favored Alvey 29-28, giving him the first and third rounds.
The Bellator middleweight tournament will reconvene at Bellator 54 on Oct. 15 in Atlantic City, N.J., where Bryan Baker will meet Vitor Vianna, while Alexander Shlemenko squares off with Brian Rogers.view original article >>
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