On Friday, April 20, Brian “The Predator” Rogers will return to the Bellator cage after a stunning flying knee knockout victory over Vitor Vianna. The win moved Rogers into the semifinals of the Bellator middleweight tournament, just two wins away from earning himself a title shot.

The 28-year-old Rogers was slated to face Bruno Santos, but Santos pulled out of the fight because of a shoulder injury and will be replaced by Andreas Spang.

Due to the tournament format, training is different for those on the Bellator roster. But Rogers feels comfortable coming into this fight.

“It’s a unique format with the tournament, but I don’t think any fighter gets it perfect,” the middleweight told The MMA Corner. “You just have to go by what your body tells you, what the coaches tell you, how they know you, and just make the best out of you.”

Rogers celebrates his quarterfinal victory (Andy Hemingway/Sherdog)

Rogers certainly has made the best out of his MMA career, compiling a record of 9-3, with his only recent loss coming against Alexander Shlemenko in October of 2011. In that bout, Rogers lost by TKO in the second round, but isn’t letting it affect his future.

“If anything, it gave me confidence that I can fight with some of the best guys in the world,” stated Rogers. “Shlemenko’s striking is very good, but I out struck him in the first round and throughout most of the second until I got caught. So really, it just gave me confidence in my abilities.”

The video of Rogers’s flying knee finish was the most watched video in Bellator history, and is allowing “The Predator” to gain more and more popularity everyday. Not only does this get his name out there, but also puts a target on his back as the fighter who is the most dangerous.

Rogers is feeling confident going into the semifinals, knowing he can take out anyone in his path.

“There’s no point coming into the tournament not thinking you’re the man to beat,” said Rogers boldly. “I think most people had me ranked third or fourth going into the tournament, but the difference between me and most guys is that I can finish anyone in the bracket. Whereas, other guys they have to win a decision or the only way they can win is by submitting a guy. I feel like I’ve got one-punch knockout power for anybody in the tournament and feel good about my chances.”

Bellator 65 takes place from the I-X Center in Cleveland. Rogers, an Ohio native,  is excited to return home, but says it isn’t necessarily a big deal.

“It’s a nice treat for my fans and friends who came to my amateur and early pro fights to be back watching me,” said Rogers. “It’s been a motivation to me, but at the end of the day, it’s two men in the cage.” The fighter later added, “But there will be an adrenaline rush from being home with all my family and friends in the crowd.”

Rogers (L) connects with a left hand (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

The keys for the holder of eight knockouts is simple: stay off the ground.

“I have to stay off the ground,” Rogers admitted. “I just have to avoid being taken down, and if I am taken down, I have to control the pace on the ground, and look to submit him or get up.”

Rogers is prepared, confident, and knows what he has to do on April 20 to earn a win.

“Give him a variety of strikes, using angles, and staying off the ground. Staying on balance, staying composed, and just give him a variety of looks on the feet,” declared Rogers. “I just have to stay on my feet and do what I do best.”

Brian would like to thank everyone from StrongSide MMA and all of his supporters, both in Ohio and nationally. He would also like to thank Intimidation Clothing, Muscle Basic Supplements, Murphy’s Ale House, Barley House Akron, Sweet Sweat USA, Christy’s Creative Social Media and Marketing Network, The Masters of Disaster, Ed and Henzo from Catastrophe Ink (new reality show that will be debuting soon), The Ice Box Cooler, Haasz Auto Mall, Brentwood Limos and Crow’s Auto Body. Follow Brian on Twitter: @BRogthePredator

Top Photo: Brian Rogers (black trunks) vs. Vitor Vianna (Andy Hemingway/Sherdog)

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.