Bellator 50 took place last night (September 17, 2011) from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
The event marked the first round of the promotion's season five middleweight tournament.
Headlining the main card was a thrilling match-up between the last two runners-up from the previous Bellator middleweight tournaments, Bryan Baker and Jared Hess.
Hess got off to a terrific start, putting Baker on his back and quickly looking for rear naked choke submission. Baker appeared to be in trouble but "The Beast" battled back and even finished the round working for the submission against Hess.
As the fight wore on, Hess appeared to fade and despite being the superior wrestler, was taken down and beaten up. Baker secured a dominant backmount position in round three and began raining down blows. Hess valiantly tried to fight back but he was eventually overwhelmed, giving Baker the victory and allowing the Team Wildman fighter to advance in the tournament.
The other three main card bouts were equally excellent.
Brian Rogers, out of Ohio's Strong Style Fight Team, kept his streak alive by scoring his seventh consecutive first round knockout against fellow Ohioan Victor O'Donnell. Rogers avoided O'Donnell's takedown attempts and eventually landed a head kick. With his opponent backed against the fence, "The Predator" swarmed O'Donnell with punches, dropping him and landing hammer fists until the referee intervened. O'Donnell was unhappy with the stoppage, but he was in serious trouble.
In his post-fight interview, Rogers, who didn't appreciate the Florida crowd booing the stoppage, went into full on "heel-mode" and further antagonized them, saying "I bet my Buckeyes are beating Miami." Unfortunately, Miami defeated Ohio State 27-6.
Bellator season two middleweight tournament champion Alexander Shlemenko made quick work of Zelg Galesic, taking the Croatian kickboxer down early before eventually locking in a standing guillotine choke that had Gelesic's head bend so far that he was staring at his own belly button, eventually forcing a quick tap.
In the opening bout of the night, Sam Alvey and Vitor Vianna put on a show, trading punches, takedowns and sweeps over the course of three rounds in an incredibly close battle that of course had to go all the way down to a split decision. Alvey made headway in the first round with more aggressive stand-up while Vianna turned it on in the second and third round, landing the more powerful blows and scoring a few takedowns that had "Smile 'N' Sam" in trouble with his world class jiu-jitsu. In the end, the judges sided with Vianna via split decision but both men had done enough to win.
Undercard quick results
140 lbs.: Shah Bobonis def. Marcos da Matta via knockout at 2:04 of round 3
156 lbs.: Marcelo Goncalves def. Dietter Navarro via submission (armbar) at 2:01 of round 1
185 lbs.: Brett Cooper def. Valdir Araujo via TKO at 0:35 of round 3
155 lbs.: Radley Martinez def. Brian van Hoven via unanimous decision
170 lbs.: Ailton Barbosa def. Ryan Keenan via submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:55 of round 1
170 lbs.: Cristiano Souza def. John Kelly via unanimous decision
155 lbs.: J.P. Reese def. Martin Brown via unanimous decision