Bellator 239 goes down this Friday night (February 21st) from the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma. This event will be capped off with a clash of future welterweight title hopefuls when the 8-1 collegiate wrestling standout, Ed Ruth, meets the 22-0 undefeated, Yaroslav Amosov.
Ruth is a homegrown talent for Bellator, with all nine of bouts occurring within the promotion. There’s no question that Ruth has been adapting his wrestling base for MMA, as well as getting more proficient with his striking. There is still a lack of polish in the standup department, as we saw in his last fight against Jason Jackson. Ruth was dropped twice in the bout, but his constant pressure and ability to lean on his wrestling aided him in escaping with the split decision victory. Not many fighters in his division can out-athlete him, so they better bring a boat load of technique to the table if they hope to stop him.
Speaking of, the blemish-free Yaroslav Amosov has a plethora of technical abilities in all facets of the sport, and has been known to seamlessly blend it all together. He has coupled his skillset with reasonable athleticism to go a perfect 22-0 in his professional career. As far as his standup, Amosov presents a lot of different looks while throwing a variety of strikes. On the ground, we’ve seen him convince his opponent that he wants to strike, and then blast a takedown to own the top position. He was actually the first person to catch David Rickels in a submission, which is no easy task. Don’t be surprised to see the winner of this matchup competing for Bellator gold in the near future.
Before that, Bellator 239’s co-main event will witness lightweights Brandon Girtz and Myles Jury go heads up. Girtz has been a Bellator mainstay that is quite the powerhouse. He has a knack for wrestling, along with some subs under his belt. His biggest x-factor is the power he possesses in his hands. He throws lopping shots with horrible intentions, and if he connects then it’s lights out for his opposition. Case and point, his violent knockouts of Derek Campos, Benny Madrid, and Luka Jelcic.
Girtz’s opponent, Myles Jury, has all of the technical skill in the world, both on the feet and on the mat. He posted a respectable 8-4 record in the UFC, only falling to top competitors like that of a Donald Cerrone, Charles Oliveira, and Chad Mendes. Despite that, Jury finds himself in a three-fight losing skid and in desperate need of a win. He dropped his Bellator debut to Benson Henderson, who is far from a slouch, by way of unanimous decision. The biggest knock on Jury is his lack of imposing his own will on his adversaries. With Girtz likely to bring the almost reckless aggression, Jury just might get the fight he wants.
Also in the main card, another collegiate wrestling standout is on the docket in the form of 2x NJCAA national champion, Tyrell Fortune. The 8-0 undefeated prospect will be taking on his biggest step up in competition thus far when he tangles with former UFC vet, Tim Johnson. Obviously the ace up the sleeve of Fortune is his wrestling, but the real story may be his boxing. He has shown tremendous growth with his punches, feinting and finding ways to set up his lethal right hand. Expect him to come out trading, but also don’t be surprised to see a level change at any point.
Tim Johnson struggled to find consistency in the UFC, going 4-3 there, but he did depart from that promotion on a win. Since coming over to Bellator, he hasn’t exactly gotten off to a good start. He was first knocked out by Cheick Kongo in 68-seconds, and then put out again by Vitaly Minakov in just 105-seconds. Johnson likes to brawl and when heavyweights connect, people go to sleep. After all, he did drop Alexander Volkov with a sinister uppercut in their bout before dropping the split decision. Oh, Johnson also has some collegiate wrestling chops, which should make things interesting.
Opening up the Bellator 239 main card, heavyweights Javy Ayala and Valentin Moldavsky are scheduled to go to war. Ayala has been seen destroying a few legends, such as Sergei Kharitonov and Frank Mir, but has also dropped key bouts to the likes of Roy Nelson and Cheick Kongo. Moldavsky is not a legend, at least not yet, but he is in his prime and brings a rounded and aggressive style that can be overwhelming to deal with. Most of Ayala’s fights are quite entertaining, for better or worse, so this should be a fun collision of big men.
Ed Ruth vs. Yaroslav Amosov: Welterweight
Brandon Girtz vs. Myles Jury: Lightweight
Tyrell Fortune vs. Tim Johnson: Heavyweight
Javy Ayala vs. Valentin Moldavsky: Heavyweight
Cris Lencioni vs. Salim Mukhidinov: Featherweight
Denise Kielholtz vs. Kristina Williams: (W) Flyweight
Lucas Brennan vs. Jamese Taylor III: Featherweight
Chris Gonzalez vs. Aaron McKenzie: Lightweight
Christian Edwards vs. Marco Hutch: Light heavyweight
Adil Benjilany vs. Kevin Croom: Featherweight
Keith Lee vs. Shawn Bunch: Bantamweight
Gabriel Varga vs. TeeJay Britton: Featherweight
Grant Neal vs. Claude Wilcox: Light heavyweight
JW Kiser vs. Davion Franklin: Heavyweight
Gaston Bolanos vs. Solo Hatley: Featherweight
Kyle Crutchmer vs. Scott Futrell: 175-pounds
Josh Hill vs. Vinicius Zani: Bantamweight