Bellator 54 takes place Oct. 15 2011 from the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ and airs live on MTV2 and in HD on Epix.
The show is highlighted by both semi-final match-ups in the middleweight division as all four men look to earn a shot against Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard. The main even features Bellator middleweight season two winner Alexander Shlemenko vs. Brian Rogers and in the co-main event is Bellator middleweight season two finalist Bryan Baker vs. Vitor Vianna.
In this edition i will breakdown each fighter and the fight itself between middleweights Bryan Baker and Vitor Vianna as the head into battle to see who will face the winner of Shlemenko vs. Brian Rogers. Follow me after the jump
Vitor Vianna (11-1)
Vianna, a Brazilian born from Espirito Santo has quickly moved up the regional MMA ranks all the way to the Bellator season five middleweight tournament. He started training in Brazilian Jui Jitsu at the ripe age of 15 at the Alliance BJJ Academy in San Paulo. He trained his craft under the famed instructor Fabio Gurgel, teacher of ADCC champions Marcelo Garcia and Damian Maia.
In 2004 after several successful trips into BJJ competitions, Vianna decided it was time to transition into mixed martial arts. Vianna would find much success fighting his native Brazil andas far as Holland. In his first eight fights he would go to 7-0-1 before his first loss. UFC ligh heavyweight Thiago Silva broke Vianna's arm while Vianna used his forearm to block a kick.
After losing for the first time in his young career against a tested veteran like Thiago Silva he would not taste defeat again. He has since gone four wins in a row with wins coming in the United States for the first time in his career.
Vianna would join Bellator Fighting Championship and be entered into the season five middleweight brackets against unknown Sam Alvey. In a tightly contested bout it would be Vianna earning the win by way of split decision to face Bryan Baker for his second true jump in competition since fighting Thiago Silva.
Vianna is currently training with the likes of former Pride middleweight champion Wanderlei Silva in Las Vegas,NV. He has ever improving Muay Thai and is fast for his size. He is a 2nd-degree black belt under Fabio Gurgel in Brazilian Jui Jitsu.
Vitor Vianna has only been training in MMA since 2004 andwith having such an extensive background in BJJ he becomes reliant upon it. He was a highly touted prospect coming into the tournament but had to go to a split with unknown Sam Alvey, maybe the bigger stage affected him?. He also lacks experience in comparison with Baker and this will be a huge step up since fighting Thiago Silva.
Bryan Baker (16-2)
At just 25 years old Bryan Baker is one of the sports best young middleweights never to step into a UFC cage. He has fought for Bellator and WEC, King of the Cage and Canadian-based MFC. The 'Beast' is fighting out of Team Wildman Vale Tudo which is ran by long time MMA journeyman Thomas Denny.
Baker specialized in Judo, Boxing and wrestling to make him a very well-rounded fighter and a threat to anyone he steps in the cage with. He has been on an absolute tear of late by adding names like Jeremy Horn (Bellator 30) and dismantling Joe Riggs (Bellator43) before a TKO win in the first round of the season five middleweight tournament over Jared Hess.
Baker also has wins over 'Ultimate Fighter' vet Rory Singer and Matt Horwich. He fought one of the top middleweights in the world in Chael Sonnen at WEC 33 to a decision. Bryan Baker may be the one guy who can unseat Hector Lombard.
Of his 16 wins he has eight KO/TKO stoppages, 3 submission wins and 5 decisions. That proves he is very durable and has no problem going into deep waters if need be. He will have the definite experience factor in his corner as he has been under the bright lights of several promotions. His diversity in Judoa nd wrestling gives him a range of takedowns to earn points whether it be a hip toss or a double leg takedown.
His two losses were a mix of TKO (Shlemenko) and a decision (Sonnen) so to find a clear weakness is hard. He has had stellar young career but he needs to prove his elite. He has lost his two biggest opportunities which means he needs to not underestimate Vianna because Vianna can slug it out. He will have to not let this drag to the ground since Vianna outclasses him there.
(Prediction: Bryan Baker TKO in round 2)