Two middleweights got one step closer to an opportunity at dethroning dominant Bellator champion Hector Lombard and a chance at $100,000 with wins at the semifinal round of the Bellator Season 5 Middleweight Tournament. Coming to us live from the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey it was Bellator 54, an action-packed event featuring a slew of stoppages.
The card was headlined by former finalist Alexander Shlemenko battling Brian Rogers, an all-out war which saw both men hurt but Rogers ultimately falling after eating some knees in the second round. The co-main event between Bryan Baker and Vitor Vianna also resulted in a finish with Vianna laying Baker out in less than a minute via TKO.
Also taking to the cage were bantamweight title holder Zach Makovsky, who submitted Ryan Roberts in a non-title fight, and previously undefeated Brazilian Rene Nazare who endured the first defeat of his career thanks to the hard work of submission-specialist Jacob Kirwan.
Claudio Ledesma def. Brian Kelleher via Unanimous Decision
Andria Caplan def. Adrienne Seiber via Unanimous Decision
Joey Kirwan def. Lewis Rumsey via Submission Round 1 (Guillotine Choke)
Tim Carpenter def. Ryan Contaldi via KO Round 1 (Uppercut)
Duane Bastress def. Daniel Gracie via TKO Round 2 (Cuts)
Jacob Kirwan vs. Rene Nazare
Fight Recap: The majority of the first round was on the ground with Nazare controlling the first four minutes but Kirwan coming back strong in the final minute. Kirwan did more damage when he was on top but Nazare was on top for a longer period of time. When things were standing, Nazare was getting the better of things as well. The second round was almost the exact opposite of the first as Kirwan controlled the ground positions for the first four minutes and Nazare turned it around in the final minute. Nazare opened up a cut near the left eye of Kirwan but because of his control in the first four minutes, Kirwan took the round. The final round looked a lot like the second round. Kirwan got an early takedown and controlled things on the ground for the majority of the round. Nazare got up and got a takedown with 30 seconds left but it was too little too late as Kirwan should take the decision 29-28.
Result: Jacob Kirwan def. Rene Nazare via Unanimous Decision
Zach Makovsky vs. Ryan Roberts
Fight Recap: Makovsky dominated the first round before putting Roberts away late. He got an early takedown, passed to side control, and controlled the top position but Roberts scrambled up. On the feet Makovsky used his speed and level changes to get in and out with his strikes and confused Roberts. Late in the round Makovsky scored another takedown off a leg kick, passed to north-south, and locked up a choke to get the tap out. Great performance by Makovsky.
Result: Zach Makovsky def. Ryan Roberts via Submission Round 1 (North-South Choke)
Bryan Baker vs. Vitor Vianna
Fight Recap: Baker came out quick and threw a lot of wild strikes, which ended up leading to Vianna catching him with a right hook that dropped Baker. Vianna followed that up with a flurry of hammerfists. Baker wasn’t defending himself and that led to the referee jumping in and stopping things. Quick fight, lasted less than a minute.
Result: Vitor Vianna def. Bryan Baker via TKO Round 1 (Strikes)
Alexander Shlemenko vs. Brian Rogers
Fight Recap: The majority of the first round was on the feet with both men throwing heavy punches. Rogers landed the cleaner strikes and did more damage but Shlemenko rocked him late in the round with a knee and followed it up with a flurry of strikes. Rogers did his a nice throw from the clinch and ended up on top but Shlemenko quickly got to his feet. Good first round of action that favored Rogers. Shlemenko rocked Rogers with a spinning back fist early in the second and followed that up with a big flurry, including some nasty knees in the clinch. Shlemenko kept up the pressure, landing some good body shots and knees to the head, forcing the ref to stop things. Great fight and a great performance by Shlemenko.
Result: Alexander Shlemenko def. Brian Rogers via TKO Round 2 (Strikes)