by MMAWeekly.com Staff Bellator Season 2 middleweight semifinalist Bryan Baker will face off with MMA veteran Jeremy Horn at Bellator 30 as the promotion returns to Fourth Street Live! on Sept. 23 in Louisville, Ky.
After suffering the first TKO loss of his career, Baker is ready to make his return to the Bellator cage. Impressive victories over Sean Loeffler and Eric Schambari put Baker in the Bellator Season 2 middleweight tournament finals and a win away from having the chance at the middleweight championship. Knockout specialist Alexander Shlemenko was the only fighter standing in Baker’s way, and the hard-hitting Russian proved too much for Baker to handle, as Shlemenko delivered a first round TKO ending Baker’s tournament run.
“The whole goal was to have a shot at the title, and I didn’t get to that point, so obviously there is disappointment,” said Baker. “I didn’t get much of a chance to show my abilities in that fight, but I’m excited I get another chance in Louisville to give the fans a good show.”
The chance Baker is referring to is at Bellator 30 when he battles one of MMA’s most experienced fighters in Horn. Horn, a veteran of over 100 fights since his professional career began in 1996, has fought MMA legends including Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, Dan Severn, Frank Shamrock, and Anderson Silva. Horn holds victories over the likes of Chuck Liddell, Forrest Griffin, Chael Sonnen, and others during his decorated fighting career.
Baker is well aware of the experience the battle-tested Horn brings to the cage, but hopes to use it to his advantage.
“Knowing who Jeremy has taken on, it just makes me even more focused for this fight. Fighting an opponent with a history like that, it pulls the better fighter out of me, and I’m excited for Bellator 30,” said an eager Baker.
“Everyone knows Jeremy has made his career off of his submission moves, so I’m looking to stay on my feet. I’m more athletic than him, and my reach should give him all sorts of problems.”
For Horn, the MMA mainstay sees the landscape of the sport changing in front of his eyes, and realizes that his vast amount of experience isn’t as valuable as it once was.
“As the sport progresses on, my experience starts to mean less and less in the ring,” said Horn. “I obviously have a good understanding of when to stay calm and when to turn things on, but for the most part, I feel like a lot of us are on a pretty level playing field. With a guy like Bryan, he is a well rounded fighter that doesn’t have a lot of weaknesses, and it’s just going to be a great fight.”