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Bellator: Baker, Shlemenko win, will face off in middleweight finals

Cagewriter

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Bellator's middleweight finals are set. Bryan Baker walked away with a quick win while Alexander Shlemenko won after Jared Hess suffered a gruesome knee injury. Baker and Shlemenko will face each other in Louisville on June 24 for the right to face season one champ Hector Lombard.

Hess controlled the first two rounds with grappling and striking and strong defense of Shlemenko's striking before the third round became gruesome. Shlemenko landed a knee, and it looked as if Hess was knocked out. Instead, he was on the ground because his knee buckled in a way knees aren't supposed to buckle. When the referee saw Hess' badly mangled knee, he stopped the bout. Somehow, Hess wanted to continue, but the fight was ended, and Shlemenko earned a berth in the finals via TKO.

Baker (pictured above) punched his ticket to the finals with a quick submission. Eric Schambari took Baker down early in the fight. Baker slapped on a triangle choke, forcing Schambari to tap at 2:23 in the first round.

In a non-tournament bout, heavyweight Eddie Sanchez won over the much smaller Mark Sursa. Early in the second round, Sursa knocked Sanchez down with a big right hand. Sursa followed up with a bevy of punches, but Sanchez somehow survived. With blood pouring out of his face, Sanchez reversed the course of the fight, and ground and pounded Sursa until the bell rang. At the beginning of the third round, Sanchez finished off Sursa with more ground and pound, winning at 0:23 in the third. After the bout, Bellator announced that Sanchez will be a part of Bellator's heavyweight tournament in season three.

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