CHICAGO, Ill. (July 28, 2011) - Reigning Bellator Middleweight World Champion Hector "Lightning" Lombard will have a close eye on Bellator's fifth season, as the promotion will hold an eight man middleweight tournament to find the challenger for the current title holder.
Heavy-handed Judo black belt Bryan "The Beast" Baker enters the tournament fresh of his impressive knockout of Joe "Diesel" Riggs at Bellator 43, while the always dangerous Alexander "Storm" Shlemenko looks to build off his striking clinic victory over Brett Cooper at Bellator 44. Bellator veterans Jared Hess and Sam Alvey will also be in the tournament, while newcomers Vitor Vianna, Zelg Galesic, Brian Rogers and Victor O'Donnell look to impress Bellator brass for the first time.
"Our 185 pound division is filled with an awe-inspiring group of fighters who have great talent," said Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney. "Baker's story of battling back from leukemia is inspiring and Hess's come back after a devastating knee injury is an incredible story. Vianna is one of the most talked about prospects in the middleweight division, Shlemenko's one of the divisions most explosive strikers and Alvey showed tremendous heart at Bellator 45. Rogers and O'Donell should be an incredibly exciting fight, then you add Zelg, one of Europe's top Middleweight strikers to the list and this should be a hugely entertaining tournament."
The action gets started on September 17th LIVE on MTV2 from The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Bellator Season 2 Middleweight Tournament Finalist Bryan Baker will take on Bellator Season 1 Middleweight Tournament Finalist Jared Hess, who is coming off a first round submission victory at Bellator 42 following almost a year away from the sport due to a horrific knee injury suffered at Bellator 20.
Alexander Shlemenko will bring his knockout power to the cage to take on hard-hitting PRIDE/DREAM veteran Zelg "Little Cro Cop" Galesic in quarterfinal action. Galesic has registered an impressive eight knockouts in his ten victories and has never gone the distance as a professional, so a stand up war should be in order at Bellator 50.
Previously one of the top unsigned middleweights in the world, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Champion and Head Jiu-Jitsu Instructor at Wand Fight Team Vitor Vianna enters Bellator ready to show the fight world what he is truly capable of, and will have that opportunity against Bellator 45 winner Sam Alvey, fresh off his impressive victory of Karl "Psycho" Amoussou.
"I know I can win the next Bellator Middleweight Tournament, and I'm going to win the next Bellator Middleweight Tournament. It's time to just go out and do it," said Vianna.
Ohio natives square off when Brian "The Predator" Rogers brings his knockout power to the Bellator cage as he meets submission specialist Victor O'Donnell in an intriguing quarterfinal fight. Rogers is currently riding a six fight win streak that includes first round knockouts in every victory.
The Season 5 Middleweight Tournament in full is listed below:
Bryan Baker vs. Jared Hess
Vitor Vianna vs. Sam Alvey
Brian Rogers vs. Victor O'Donnell
For more information, visit Bellator.com, follow Bellator on Twitter @BellatorMMA or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Bellator