Bellator 50: Recap & Analysis
Floyd Mayweather sucker punches his way to a knockout victory over Victor Ortiz...
Jake Ellenberger surprises Jake Shields with an early knockout victory...
I'm sure all eyes weren't on the Bellator 50 Middleweight quarter-finalist, but they brought a lot of fight and skill to the cage Saturday night.
Hector Lombard will be in for a fight from whomever he draws from the remaining fighters, and we'll be in for an exciting show.
What happened, you say? Let's find out...
Bellator 50: Vitor Vianna Defeats Sam Alvey by Split Decision
"Smilin'" Sam Alvey was this aggressor early on with jab-kick combinations. He utilized a lot of outside leg kicks but he doesn't turn over his hip when throwing the kick. Conversely, Vitor Vianna didn't throw a strike for the first two minutes, showing a lot of respect to Alvey's striking. Maybe it was a lack of striking experience from Vianna, however he went in for a take down with thirty seconds left but was only able to press Alvey against the ring and absorb more punishment.
Round 2 started the same way the the first round started with Alvey throwing the same jabs and looking for openings for left and right hooks. He connected with a couple left straights until being pushed up against the cage. Neither fighter used a change of levels to secure a leverage advantage.
A body-lock battle on the cage continued until Vianna secured his first takedown of the bout. Alvey scrambled and somehow got the fight back to the feet. However, Alvey was soon countered by Vianna and he secured another takedown and finished the round with a rear naked choke attempt. Enough to take the round.
Vianna pushed Alvey up against the cage but wasn't able to score a take down. Vianna should definitely use more dirty boxing tactics. The lack of striking action show that Vianna has a lot to work on. Alvey showed a solid wrestling base with his defense of take downs. Even until the last minute, the action was slow, but things picked up with seconds left in the fight. Vianna caught Alvey with a couple of straights which may have given him the round and the fight.
The judges scored it a split decision for Vianna moving him into the semi-finals. The crowd didn't like the decision, and they showed it by booing during the post fight interview. Hopefully Vianna steps up his striking game in the next fight, or he won't have a chance of moving any further.
Bellator 50: Alexander Shlemenko Submits Zelg Galesic
Croatia vs. Russia...
Striker vs. Striker...
Shlemenko took the fight to the ground early in round 1. It was easy to see that Shlemenko wanted to take advantage of his strength advantage as the bigger man in the cage. Once against the cage, Shlmenko softened Galesic up with a few punches and a knee that dropped Galesic's head. He seized the opportunity to apply a standing guillotine and end the fight extremely early.
Most thought this fight would end with a knockout, but it's funny how striker vs striker often ends with a submission. Shlemenko won his 41st fight which is unheard of in MMA circles. Most fighters don't fight long enough to have 41 fights, much less win 41 of them. Shlemenko was quoted as saying:
"I don't care who I fight in this tournament. Sorry to the other guys, but I'm going to beat them all up in order to fight (Hector) Lombard again. I don't think anyone can stop me on my way to beating Hector and taking the Bellator Middleweight World Championship"
That quote says it all. He won't rest until he reaches Lombard in a championship rematch.
Bellator 50: Brian Rogers Hammers Victor O'Donnell in Round One
After a very brief feeling out period, Rogers caught O'Donnell with a knee on the way to a clinch. Rogers pressed O'Donnell against the cage to sap some energy from him. O'Donnell, a very cerebral fighter, studied a lot while Rogers preferred action. As the saying goes, study long, study wrong, as the fight took a sharp turn in Roger's favor. After a brief reversal, Rogers muscled O'Donnell back to the cage.
The former middle linebacker threw O'Donnell against the cage when O'Donnell attempted another reversal. Rogers fired strikes to the head making O'Donnell's knees buckle. Rogers pounced on top and finished him off with a series of hammer fists before the referee intervened. The consensus opinion was that the fight was stopped early, but the referee has the final say.
There isn't a lot negative things you can say about this performance for Rogers. His finishing ability will make him a favorite in the semi-finals, and a fantastic fight for the champion, should he advance.
Bellator 50: Bryan Baker Outlasts Jared Hess
The most anticipated fight of the night...
Both fighters reached the finals in previous tournaments. Both are came off of setbacks, Bryan "The Beast" Baker recovering from a bout with leukemia, and Jared Hess coming off of injuries, including a gruesome dislocated knee. So there was no quit in either fighter.
Hess isn't technically trained in boxing and it shows. His punches were loopy and will likely tire him out in every fight if he continues to punch that way. After working distance, a scramble ensued. Hess got the better of the scramble working to secure Baker's back. Baker got pushed into deep water when Hess secured a tight rear naked choke. Somehow, Baker ducked his chin and got free from the choke and worked the fight back to the feet and pushed Hess to the fence. Hess got caught against the fence with Baker doing damage with ground and pound. Hess was visibly tired and Baker locked on an anaconda choke. He lost the choke and gave up side control. The round ended with Baker locked in another choke attempt, but Hess was able to endure until the bell.
Bryan Baker started the round with good strikes, Hess attempted a take down. Baker stuffed the take down and was in position for another Anaconda attempt. Hess swept Baker and took control only to give it back up in a tactical switcheroo. Baker went for a couple of submission attempts while the fight swayed. Baker secured the back of Hess and started punishing Hess. Both fighters looked very fatigued as Hess struggled out of the submission attempt and back to his feet. Baker ended the round in dominate position again, applying pressure with sneaky shots to Hess' face.
Round three started with more of the same, as both fighters leaned more on the clinch game. Baker secured Hess' back again. This time Baker was able to flatten Hess out and finish him off with a series of strikes.
Coming out of this fight, Baker should work on his cardio to be able to push forward at the end of fights. Hess definitely should do the same, because he ran out of gas very early on in the fight.
Bellator 50: Ailton Barbosa Chokes out Ryan Keenan
Does training with Shaquille O'Neal help you in a mixed martial arts fight? Ryan Keenan tried to test that theory against Ailton Barbosa with the retired basketball legend sitting ringside.
After the bell, a striking battle broke out from the onset that Keenen seemed to be winning. Barbosa, who is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, executed what appeared to be a take down but he turned it into a rear body triangle.
With the body triangle from behind secured, Barbosa fired close range shots at Keenan's face creating a cut. Once Keenen dropped his hands, he secured the rear naked choke and ended the fight.
Keenan has a long way to go from the looks of that outing. Barbosa should battle someone who is well-versed in Brazilian jiu-jitsu to truly test his game.