Brian Rogers had his moments but lost by unanimous decision in the opening round of the Bellator middleweight tournament.
The Kent, Ohio native went back-and-forth with Dan Cramer for three rounds on Thursday night at the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, N.C. The judges scored the fight 30-27 and 29-28 (x2).
In the opening round, Rogers highlighted the round with a belly-to-belly suplex but Cramer was able to sweep and land on top. Rogers worked his way back to his feet but Cramer quickly put him back down.
Rogers was able to work his way back up and ended the opening round trading punches with the former “Ultimate Fighter.”
“The Professional Predator” opened the second round with another belly-to-belly suplex and unloaded with ground-and-pound once it hit the ground. Unable to finish Cramer, Rogers backed off and let Cramer back up but quickly put him back on the ground with another takedown.
Rogers tried to finish the fight again but eventually let Cramer back up. Once Cramer got to his feet, he was able to take Rogers down.
Rogers was able to quickly get back to his feet and exchanged wild punches with Cramer but was taken down again. Rogers again worked his way back to his feet and traded punches with Cramer for the final seconds of the round.
Both fighters looked tired at the start of the third and final round but it did not stop them from throwing wild strikes. Rogers was able to land several times during the round that backed Cramer up but Cramer was able to win the round with two takedowns and a big knee that hurt Rogers.
With the win, Cramer improves to 10-3 and is now 7-1 in Bellator. Cramer will fight Brett Cooper in the next round of the middleweight tournament.
With the loss, Rogers drops to 10-5 and has lost two out of his last three fights.