Bellator Fighting Championships’ second season is underway, and the lightweights, featherweights, and welterweights have all had their turns to open up their quarterfinal rounds. Now, it is time for the middleweights.
The 185-pound tournament field for this season includes the likes of Luke Zachrich and Alexander Shlemenko, but none of the middleweights stand out quite as much as Bryan “The Beast” Baker.
Baker’s career in mixed martial arts began just over three years ago with a dominate victory via submission due to strikes. Since the debut victory, Baker has done just about everything to earn his nickname of “The Beast”, rolling through his next five opponents to push his professional record to 6-0. And he did it all in less than one year.
However, his dominant streak came to an end when current UFC middleweight top contender Chael Sonnen defeated Baker via unanimous decision at “WEC 33: Marshall vs. Stann”. The loss was the first setback in his career, but it would not take long for Baker to turn things back in the right direction.
In his next outing, “The Beast” rolled through his opponent, Gary Padilla, for three straight rounds en route to a dominant decision victory. Building upon his first win since the Sonnen fight, Baker plowed his way through his next four opponents, bringing him to where he stands now.
At 10-1, Baker is set to compete as a middleweight in the three-round Bellator tournament, but standing in his way in the first round is Sean Loeffler, a 22-fight veteran who is on a six-fight winning streak. Also in the field, the aforementioned Shlemenko and Zachrich could threaten Baker’s run for the tournament championship.
The 185-pound tournament certainly has its share of challenges for Baker and the rest of the participants, but “The Beast” is not going to back down from anyone. After rebounding from his first career loss, Baker is on a roll and will look to continue it on April 29 in Kansas City, Missouri.
At 24 years of age, Baker is still very young in the sport with many years ahead of him, but, regardless of age, he has the experience and the drive to succeed in the highly competitive middleweight tournament. With a victory over Loeffler in the opening round, “The Beast” will be one step closer to solidifying himself as a legitimate and dangerous middleweight in MMA, and one step closer to taking the gold in the Bellator Fighting Championships middleweight tournament.