Bellator 54 took place from the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.  The event featured the middleweight tournament semifinals, as well as a non-title affair between current bantamweight champ Zach Makovsky and Ryan Roberts.

Shlemenko withstands early assault, finishes Rogers

Russian striker and prior middleweight tournament winner Alexander Shlemenko looked to take another step toward a rematch with Hector Lombard when he collided with Brian Rogers.

In the opening round, Rogers showed off his explosiveness and power.  The former linebacker quickly found his timing and range, largely getting the better of the flashy Russian.  Rogers likely earned the round on the scorecards with a huge right hand that dropped Shlemenko.  Rogers also scored with a smooth lateral drop takedown near the end of the round.

The second round started with Rogers ducking under one of Shlemenko’s patented spinning back fists and landing a takedown.  The Russian regained his footing and the pair traded big shots.  Shlemenko scored with a series of left hands that rocked Rogers against the fence.  The Russian did not let up, following with repeated knees to Rogers’ head, forcing a stoppage from the referee.

With the win, Shlemenko secured his spot in the tournament final.

Vianna finishes Baker to cash ticket to tournament final

In the first semi-final fight of the night, Bryan Baker showed no respect for the striking of Brazilian Vitor Vianna.

Baker attacked wildly and aggressively, but left himself open for the counterstrike.  Vianna connected with a huge right hand that dropped Baker.  Baker tried to survive from the bottom, but Vianna delivered a flurry of hammerfists that forced the referee to step in and end the fight.

Vianna moves on to the final of the middleweight tournament.

Makovsky outclasses Roberts in non-title bout

Current bantamweight champ Zach Makovsky showed off his well-rounded attack against Ryan Roberts in a non-title bout.

Makovsky scored with an early takedown and moved to side control.  Roberts was able to get back to his feet, but was peppered with straight left hands and inside leg kicks from the champ.  A kick from Roberts was caught by Makovsky and he again ended up in the top position.

Before the round ended, Makovsky slapped on a choke from the north-south position and forced a tap from Roberts.

Kirwan grinds out decision over Nazare

Jacob Kirwan put the first blemish on the record of Brazilian Rene Nazare in their lightweight matchup.

Kirwan used his wrestling to smother the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace for the majority of the three rounds.  Nazare managed to sweep to the top position in the first round, but failed to mount any significant offense.

With a grinding top game, Kirwan did enough to convince the judges to give him the decision win.

FULL RESULTS

Alexander Shlemenko def. Brian Rogers by TKO (knees). Round 2, 2:30

Vitor Vianna def. Bryan Baker by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 0:54

Zach Makovsky def. Ryan Roberts by submission (north-south choke). Round 1, 4:48

Jacob Kirwan def. Rene Nazare by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27).

Duane Bastress def. Daniel Gracie by TKO (doctor’s stoppage). Round 2, 5:00

Joey Kirwan def. Lewis Rumsey by submission (guillotine). Round 1, 1:40

Tim Carpenter def. Ryan Contaldi by KO (punch). Round 1, 2:16

Andria Caplan def. Adrienne Seiber by unanimous decision (29-28 x3).

Claudio Ledesma def. Brian Kelleher by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

Photo: Alexander Shlemenko (Bellator)