Reigning Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard will have a close eye on Bellator’s fifth season, as the promotion will hold an eight-man middleweight tournament to find a challenger for the current titleholder.
Heavy-handed Judo black belt Bryan Baker enters the tournament fresh off his impressive knockout of Joe “Diesel” Riggs at Bellator 43, while the always dangerous Alexander 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 comeback 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 division’s 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 tournament begins at Bellator 50 on Sept. 17 at The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla. Bellator Season 5 will air live on MTV2, the promotion’s new television partner as of Season 4.
Season 5 Middleweight Tournament pairings:
Bryan Baker vs. Jared Hess
Alexander Shlemenko vs. Zelg Galesic
Vitor Vianna vs. Sam Alvey
Brian Rogers vs. Victor O’Donnell