Bellator 54 Main Card Recap

Alexander Shlemenko

On a weekend without a UFC event, Bellator 54 took center stage with the semifinal round of the middleweight tournament and a non-title fight bantamweight bout. 

Jacob Kirwan Defeats Nazare via Unanimous Decision (30-27×2, 29-28)

Nazare saw his record snapped by the relentless wrestling game of Kirwan in this tournament qualifier fight.  While Nazare looked sharp as ever in the first round, including a beautiful sweep in the early moments of the fight, he appeared lost for most of the bout as he was unable to keep Kirwan from locking down half guard.  Nazare showed a need to develop his MMA grappling, while Kirwan showed his heart and dominant top game that could prove an issue for fellow tournament fighters.

Bantamweight non-title bout:

Zach Makovsky Defeats Ryan Roberts via 1st round North South Choke

Makovsky showed how a super fight is done, hustling Roberts everywhere this fight went. Showing his world-class grappling pedigree, Makovsky rag dolled the much larger Roberts from the opening moments of the fight, and showed improved striking when the fight returned to the standing position.  Following a masterful guard pass by Makovsky, Roberts found himself in a North South choke with seconds to go, but couldn’t hold on for the bell. Makovsky worked off the ring rust in preparing for the eventual Bantamweight Tournament winner, and showed he won’t be rolling over for any of the 4 remaining fighters.

Middleweight semifinal bouts:

Victor Vianna Defeats Bryan Baker via 1st round KO (Looping Right)

In a short bout, Baker came out with contempt and found himself on the mat as Vianna flattened him with a haymaker right.  Baker came into this bout with some serious momentum, and didn’t feel threatened by the BJJ champions stand-up in the opening moments.  A wild right caught Baker blind during a combination though, and a quick flurry of hammerfists spelled the end for Baker, moving Vianna into the finals.

Alexander Shlemenko Defeats Brian Rogers by 2nd round TKO (knees)

In the best fight of the night, Rogers came out with no fear of the Russian striker, finding great success in the first round.  Landing almost at will and walking through Shlemenko’s offense, Rogers landed heavy body shots, combinations, and a lateral throw that saw Shlemenko on the defensive for most of the round.  Roger’s aggression would prove to be his undoing though as he lost steam minutes into the second ground and started losing exchanges.  Shlemenko capped off the evening with a series of heavy clinch knees that put Rogers in trouble, forcing the ref to step in halfway through the round.

This leaves Shlemenko vs. Vianna for the Middleweight Tournament Final, with the winner facing Hector Lombard for the Bellator Middleweight Title.

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