Saturday, October 15, 2011

Makovsky tops Roberts at Bellator 54

By John McMullen

ATLANTIC CITY (The Phanatic Magazine) - Bellator booked The Ballroom at Boardwalk Hall on Saturday with the intention of showcasing Kensington's Eddie Alvarez, the group's lightweight champion.

Alvarez was scheduled to make his second title defense against big-time prospect Michael Chandler but was forced to pull out with an injury, meaning the promotion was without its top local drawing card.

Another Philly fighter stepped into the spotlight, however, as Bellator bantamweight king Zach Makovsky, along with the second round of the Bellator Season 5 Middleweight Tournament headlined the card.

Makovsky, who trains with Alvarez and went to Drexel, was given a chance to up his profile a bit by taking on veteran Ryan Roberts, a former UFC competitor, in a non-title affair.

He didn't disappoint. Nicknamed "Fun Size," due to his diminutive 5- foot-4 fame, Makovsky (14-2) is five years younger than Roberts (19-10) and it showed as he used a significant quickness advantage to set the pace.

A solid left hand that momentarily stunned Roberts as well as a couple of takedowns early gave Makovsky the momentum and he never relinquished it, finishing things with a north-south choke at 4:38 of the opening round.

"I have been working on a choke lately," Makovsky said. "It's been working in training and it worked tonight."

In middleweight tourney action, Vitor Vianna (13-1-1) opened up the semifinals in stunning fashion, knocking out Bryan Baker (16-3) at just 54 seconds of the first round.

Vianna, a jiu-jitsu black belt brought to the states by UFC star Wanderlei Silva, bided his time when Baker came out swinging wildly. A right eventually decked Baker and sent him sprawling near the cage. Vianna then followed with a kick that just missed before he ended things with a series of backhanded punches
with Baker against the cage.

Baker, of course, was diagnosed with leukemia just weeks prior to the Bellator Season 2 Middleweight Tournament. He kept his illness a secret then and fought his way to the finals before suffering defeat to Alexander Shlemenko. Now in remission the Denver native wasn't able to repeat his prior success and Vianna will be the one to go one to face Shlemenko in this season's finals.

Shlemenko (42-7) , himself, made it two straight finals appearances for himself by closing the night with a TKO of the heavy-hitting Brian Rogers (8-3) at 2:30 in the second round. Experience simply won over youth here.

Shlemenko took some shots in the opening round but remained calm throughout as Rogers gassed himself. A
minute into Round 2 Rogers had nothing left and Shlemenko finished things with a series of devastating knees to the head.

After beating Baker in the Season 2 finals, Shlemenko lost to middleweight champion Hector Lombard in a five-round decision but will not get his rematch scheduled for Nov. 19.

“The middleweights have absolutely brought it this season,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “Vitor Vianna, who is known for his submission game, has proven tonight that he has dynamite in his hands, and Alexander Shlemenko is absolutely one of the most exciting and explosive middleweights in the world. These finals will be an absolute magic at The Seminole Hard Rock on November 19.”

In other action that aired live on MTV2, Jacob Kirwan (9-3) upset the previously unbeaten Rene Nazare (10-1) by unanimous decision, winning 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27. Kirwan basically outwrestled Nazare for three rounds, highlighting a major hole in the Brazilian's game.

"I want to thank my trainers. We had a great game plan," Kirwan said. "It all came together tonight."

Andria Caplan (1-0) of Philadelphia licked off the night by winning her professional debut in the lone wome's fight of the night, edging Adrienne Seiber (1-2) on all three scorecards, 29-28. Both women were bruised and battered in the fight but the 33-year-old Caplan, who relies on Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, showed a lot of grit, controlling much of the fight on the ground although she did seem tentative and unable to score a lot when on the advantage.

"I feel great," Caplan said. "“She (Adrienne) was really strong. I knew I wasn’t going to get tired so I figured just deal with it and push through. I want to fight again and keep training”

Claudio Ledesma (5-2) used his reach advantage and athleticism to pitch a shutout against Brian Kelleher (4-2). Ledesma, of Denville, NJ, was especially impressive when peppering Kelleher with leg kicks and won all three scorecards 30-27, in the 140-pound bout.

Veteran Joey Kirwan (8-5) made quick work of 21-year-old Lewis Rumsey (6-7) in a 187-pound match, ending things at 1:40 of the first round when he slapped on a guillotine from the full mount. Submissions are nothing new for Kirwan, a surprise since he lists his specialties as boxing and wrestling. Seven of Kirwan's eight career wins are by submission.

“I knew my submission game was better than his," Kirwan said. "I could strike with him but I knew my submissions were better. I’d love to fight for Bellator again. Hopefully they bring me back and let me in a tournament."

Philly heavyweight Tim Carpenter (8-1), who looks a lot like the WWE's Kane, ignited the crowd with a one-punch knockout of Ryan Contaldi (8-5-1) at 2:16 of Round 1. Contaldi got caught as he ducked his head approaching Capeneter. The 31-year-old connected with a short right uppercut that knocked Contaldi

The final undercard bout featured submission specialist Daniel Gracie (5-4-1), who was overwhelmed by Duane Bastress (4-1) in a middleweight bout. Bastress was just too strong for Gracie, planting him twice with suplexes and playing the ground-and-pound game before the ringside physician stopped it after the
second round due to a nasty Gracie cut.


*The Alvarez-Chandler championship fight was pushed back to Bellator 59 scheduled for Nov. 19 in Hollywood, Fla.

*The undercard was televised live online at

*Karl Amoussou was expected to make his welterweight debut at this event against Kirwan but was pulled from the bout and replaced by Rumsey.

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