Tonight, Bellator 50 lights off this season’s eight-man middleweight tournament at a new broadcast time of 7 p.m. ET on MTV2. Following with another new trend, the main card will be simulcast in HD on the Epix network. The event’s undercard will be streamed live on Spike.com at 5 p.m. ET. Join in on the live discussion and results on BloodyElbow.
The brackets are loaded. Experienced Russian Alexander Shlemenko (40-7), the winner of the Season Two middleweight tournament, will match hands with former Cage Rage 185-pound champ Zelg Galesic (10-5). Galesic, a Croatian making his Bellator debut, flaunts the unique base of Taekwondo and has competed in Pride FC, Dream and K-1 Hero’s against the likes of Kazushi Sakuraba and Ronaldo Souza. This fight has slug-fest written all over it.
The dark horse of the tournament is Brian Rogers (7-2). “The Predator” is a Strong Style Fight Team prospect coming off a win on the Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson prelims and, after losing two of his first three, has crushed his last six opponents with first round TKOs. Rogers draws Victor O’Donnell (10-2), another impressive newcomer who once submitted former UFC fighter Forrest Petz. O’Donnell’s two losses come from reputable competition in the UFC’s Constantinos Phillippou and European talent Marcus Vantinnen.
Inspirational cancer survivor Bryan Baker (15-2) is back in action against Jared Hess (11-2-1). Baker’s been impressive while battling with cancer and should only improve now that he’s fully recovered. His only defeats are to Shlemenko and Chael Sonnen back at WEC 33.
Hess was looking strong in the first two rounds against Shlemenko in the Season Two tournament until an awkward step dislocated his knee, forcing him to retire. That loss and a TKO to champion Hector Lombard are Hess’s only flaws. He has finished all eleven of his wins with eight subs and three TKOs.
Sam Alvey (15-2), who spoiled Karl Amoussou’s debut by decision back at Bellator 45, takes on Vitor Vianna (10-1-1) in the final match. Alvey is new to the big stage, holds a win over heavyweight Jason Guida and showed sick sweeping ability against Amoussou. Vianna is a Wand Fight Team product who has fought sparsely since 2004. His sole loss was to UFC light-heavyweight Thiago Silva.
Alexander Shlemenko vs. Zelg Galesic
Bryan Baker vs. Jared Hess
Brian Rogers vs. Victor O’Donnell
Vitor Vianna vs. Sam Alvey
Valdir Araujo vs. Brett Cooper
Radley Martinez vs. Brian van Hoven
Luis Palomino vs. James Edson Berto
Ailton Barbosa vs. Ryan Keenan
Cristiano Souza vs. John Kelly
Marcos da Matta vs. Shah Babonis
Dietter Navarro vs. Marcelo Goncalves
J.P. Reese vs. R.J. Goodridge
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