Preparations for the second round of Bellator's season-five middleweight tournament have begun. Following their victories at Bellator 50, Bryan Baker (16-2) will square off against Vitor Vianna (11-1-1) and Alexander Shlemenko (41-7) will take on Brian Rogers (8-2) in the tournament's semi-finals at Bellator 54. Bellator chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney announced the matchups at Bellator 50's post-fight press conference.
Baker moves on after knocking out Jared Hess in the third round of their quarterfinal fight. The victory was the third in a row for the 25-year-old, and tenth in his last eleven bouts. He now takes on Vianna, a rising Brazilian prospect that scored a split decision win over Sam Alvey.
Meanwhile, Shlemenko continued his blitz through 2011, submitting Zelg Galesic in the opening minutes of the first round. The 27-year-old Russian has already notched four victories within the year, after losing to Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard last October. He puts that streak on the line against Rogers, who carries his own seven-fight win streak after stopping Victor O'Donnell in just two minutes via strikes.
Bellator 54 is slated for October 15th at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Also featured on the night's main card is a lightweight championship fight between Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler.