Bellator 57 Preview
by Michael Roberts November 10, 2011 at 2:00PM | Views: 2,234
Bellator Fighting Championships heads north to Ontario, Canada and two tournament champions will be crowned Saturday. Both the welterweight and middleweight season 5 winners will earn a title shot and $100,000. Bellator 57 takes place this Saturday, Nov. 12 live on MTV2 and in HD on Epix2 at 7/6c.
Welterweights Ben "Killa B" Saunders and Douglas "The Phenom" Lima both enter their tournament finale fight coming off impressive finishes in the semi-finals. Though Saunders is known for his ferocious knees, it was his smooth ground work that moved his Bellator record to 3-0. He dominated Brazilian Luis Santos on the mat throughout the fight and finished him off with a keylock in the third round. It was "Killa B"'s 12th career win and his 11th by stoppage. While many labeled Saunders as an early tournament favorite, the Florida-native will have his hands full with Lima. A fellow American Top Team product, Lima engaged in a slugfest with the hard hitting Chris Lozano in the semis. A crisp right hand from "The Phenom" brought things to an immediate halt in the second, as Lima extended his win streak to eight with a vicious one-punch knockout. With a guaranteed title shot against reigning welterweight champ Ben Askren and $100,000 awaiting the winner, expect fireworks from the start.
In the middleweight tournament finale, Alexander "Storm" Shlemenko is out to earn a second crack at the title while Vitor Vianna is looking to win his first tournament. Shlemenko won the season 2 tournament and met current middleweight champ Hector Lombard in October 2010. The Russian lost a five-round decision and that fight is the lone blemish in his last 12 fights. At the start of the tournament Shlemenko vs. Vianna would have been labeled as a striker vs. grappler fight, but both competitors have shown increasingly well-rounded games. Shlemenko scored a first-round submission victory in his first fight of the tournament before keeping true to his striking roots and getting a second-round TKO in the semis. Vianna enters the finals after blitzing Bryan Baker in his most recent outing. The 2nd degree black belt didn't have time to showcase his world-class Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, as Vianna unloaded an overhand right and rained down hammerfists to force a 54-second stoppage. The winner of Shlemenko vs. Vianna gets a title shot against Lombard and takes home the big check.
Also on the main card is a pair of fights with future tournament implications. In light heavyweight action Ohio-native "Big" John Hawk takes on Canadian Roger Hollett. In his Bellator debut, Hawk dished out a two-round beat down that forced his opponent to throw the towel in before the start of the third. Half of the Strong Style product's wins have come by knockout. Hollett makes his Bellator debut riding a four-fight win streak. "The Hulk" has earned stoppages in 11 of his 12 victories. Featherweights Alexandre "Popo" Bezerra and Doug Evans are both looking to impress in the crowded 145-pound division. "Popo" has done so already in Bellator. He has compiled a 3-0 record with three stoppages since entering the promotion in June. Evans, who has almost twice as many fights as "Popo," will look to use his experience to stifle the surging Brazilian.
Before the main card airs, Spike.com brings you six live prelim fights. Fans can expect high-paced action when Canadian fighters enter the cage in their home province. In lightweight action, 18-3 Ontario-native Chris Horodecki takes on Mike Corey. Horodecki makes an emotional return to the cage, as he is not only fighting in front of a hometown crowd, but doing so for the first time since the tragic loss of his mentor and trainer Shawn Tompkins. In his way is the twice-beaten Corey, who is riding a five-win streak and has more than half of his wins by submission. Also in the lightweight division, Dave Jansen takes on Ashkan Morvari in a likely battle of submissions. Jansen has nine of his 15 wins by submission while Morvari has seven of his 12 wins by submission. Rounding out the prelims, undefeated light heavyweight Matt Van Buren battles local favorite Shawn Levesque.
Catch the prelims Saturday, Nov. 12 at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT