Bryan Baker (right) vs. Jeremy Horn: Photo by Bellator.com
Bellator Fighting Championships Season 2 middleweight tournament finalist Bryan Baker bounced back from a slow start to defeat the well-traveled Jeremy Horn by unanimous decision at Bellator 30 on Thursday at Fourth Street Live in Louisville, Ky.
Scores were 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 for Baker, who was diagnosed with chronic leukemia in April. The 25-year-old went into remission three weeks ago and only recently revealed his illness to the public.
In search of his 87th career victory, Horn opened as the aggressor, as he brought the fight to the ground with a single-leg takedown in the first round. “Gumby” passed to side mount and threatened Baker with a guillotine choke when the judo black belt scrambled to his feet against the cage. The Thomas Denny protégé escaped and countered Horn with a patented judo throw late in the third period. With that, the tide shifted.
Baker increased his offensive output in rounds two and three, pressuring Horn with a triangle choke in the second and firing away with powerful combinations in the third. He placed an exclamation point at the end of the match, as he popped Horn with a right hook, three head kicks and a flying knee, all in the final minute of their competitive encounter.
“I definitely knew I had to take the last two rounds,” said Baker, who has posted eight wins in nine appearances. “That was the game plan. My conditioning, I knew, would be above his.”
Meanwhile, EliteXC veteran Zach Makovsky advanced to the final of Bellator’s Season 3 bantamweight tournament with a unanimous nod over Bryan Goldsby, a replacement for the injured Ulysses Gomez. Scores were 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 for Makovsky, a Philadelphia Fight Factory representative who has rattled off five consecutive wins.
Makovsky will meet Ed West -- a split decision winner over Jose Vega in the other semi-final -- for the 135-pound championship at Bellator 32 on Oct. 14 at the Kansas City Power and Light District in Kansas City, Mo. An International Fight League veteran, West fought effectively from his back throughout the three-round affair and opened a cut near Vega’s left eye. He will carry a seven-fight winning streak into the final.
Ron Sparks def. Greg Maynard -- KO (Punch) 0:50 R1
Brent Weedman def. Jacob McClintock -- TKO (Punches) 3:05 R1
Mike O’Donnell def. Stoney Hale -- Submission (Armbar) 0:50 R2
Jeremiah Riggs def. Mike Fleniken -- Unanimous Decision