When one door closes, another one opens. With Brent Weedman bowing out of the Bellator welterweight tournament semifinals with an injury, Bryan Baker has been named as the replacement. For Bryan Baker, this is a huge opportunity to make yet another run at winning a Bellator tournament.

Douglas Lima was expected to face Weedman, but now he’ll see Baker instead. Lima had already lost to Weedman, at an American Fight League show in 2008, making the rematch a dangerous one for the 25-year-old Brazilian welterweight. Baker could be seen as an easier fight for Lima, seeing as how Baker is coming off a submission loss to Karl Amoussou in a fight that took place last July.

Baker isn’t an easy fight though, and he won’t make Lima’s path to the tournament finals any easier. Both Baker and Lima are tough to game plan for on short notice, but Baker, having fought in two previous middleweight tournaments and one welterweight tournament for Bellator, is a veteran of the tourney format. He might have recently succumbed to Amoussou, but that was after Baker forged his way to the welterweight finals by beating Carlos Pereira and Ben Saunders.

Baker is a finisher with 11 of his 18 wins coming by either submission or knockout. Also, Baker’s only losses come against top fighters like Amoussou, Alexander Shlemenko, Vitor Vianna and Chael Sonnen.

Baker’s striking is also something that is very tough to get a grip on, as he uses a lot of movement and packs a lot of power that has brought eight wins via knockout—including one very big KO of Joe Riggs. Baker has a good chance at making it past Lima if he can keep the fight standing and utilize his striking to take out Lima. If he is able to pull this off, he can certainly change the landscape of the tournament and take out whoever he faces in the welterweight tournament finals.

Baker and Weedman have comparable chances to beat Lima, with Baker’s best shot coming from winning by knockout and Weedman’s coming from repeating his previous submission victory over Lima from five years ago.

It is a Bellator tournament and during such a tourney anything is feasible, as seen by previous tournament results. This is why they call it the “Toughest Tournament in Sports”—everybody is a threat to your victory and everybody has the tools to beat you. Baker’s late entry into the bracket may have changed the landscape in this season’s welterweight tournament.

Photo: Bryan Baker (R) throws a kick (Sherdog)

About The Author

Sal DeRose
Staff Writer

Sal hails from New Jersey and is currently training for his first MMA fight. He hopes to use his knowledge and insight to generate articles that interest and entertain you. Outside of MMA, Sal is a big fan of every other sport. He's a diehard New York sports fan, with the exception of cheering for the Packers.