They might call him an anomaly in scientific circles.
American Top Team’s Yaroslav Amosov kept his perfect professional record intact and climbed yet another rung on the Bellator MMA ladder, as he notched a unanimous decision over three-time NCAA wrestling champion Ed Ruth in the Bellator 239 headliner on Friday at the Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma. Amosov (23-0, 4-0 Bellator) swept the scorecards with 29-28 marks from all three judges.
Ruth (8-2, 8-2 Bellator) struggled to find his way. Unable to get his takedown game in gear, he found himself trapped on the feet with a vastly superior striker. Amosov piled up points with jabs, low leg kicks and stabbing left hands, while surprising his American Kickboxing Academy-trained counterpart in some of the grappling exchanges. Ruth tried to turn the tide in the third round, where he picked up his pace with right hands and kicks to the body before scrambling to the back. Amosov calmly slipped out the backdoor, resumed his efforts on the feet and maintained his lead.
In the lightweight co-main event, “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 15 alum Myles Jury closed the book on a career-worst three-fight losing streak with a unanimous decision over Brandon Girtz. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 29-28 for Jury (18-5, 1-1 Bellator), who netted his first win since Dec. 30, 2017.
Girtz (16-9, 8-7 Bellator) swarmed with punches and moved forward aggressively, often to his detriment. Jury countered with a series of perfectly timed knee strikes to the head and body, all while mixing in an effective jab. Girtz switched gears in the middle stanza, struck for a takedown and applied his ground-and-pound, enjoying his most successful stretch of the fight. However, Jury zeroed in on the Genesis Training Center representative’s midsection in the third round, executed a takedown of his own and eventually attached himself to Girtz’s back to punctuate a strong performance.
The 34-year-old Girtz has lost five of his last seven fights.
Meanwhile, Xtreme Couture’s Timothy Johnson short-circuit the previously unbeaten Tyrell Fortune with a crushing right hand in the first round of their heavyweight showcase. A three-time collegiate wrestling champion, Fortune (8-1, 8-1 Bellator) met his end 2:35 into Round 1.
Johnson (13-6, 1-2 Bellator) leaned on his experience, guile and punching power against the heavily favored prospect. Midway through the first round, he pressured Fortune onto his back foot, distracted him with a shovel uppercut and connected with a devastating right hook that sent spit flying and flipped the switch upon impact.
The knockout was Johnson’s first in nearly five years.
Finally, repeated takedowns, suffocating top control and steady ground-and-pound carried 2018 Combat Sambo World Championships gold medalist Valentin Moldavsky to a unanimous decision over Javy Ayala in a three-round heavyweight feature. All three cageside judges scored it for Moldavsky (9-1, 4-0 Bellator): 30-25, 30-24 and 30-24.
Ayala (11-8, 6-5 Bellator) was out of his depth. Moldavsky tripped him to the floor inside the first 30 seconds, settled in side control and ultimate framed an attempted arm-triangle. Ayala escaped the choke, but the tone was set. Moldavsky continued to make the Tachi Palace Fight veteran’s life miserable, as he delivered one takedown after another, hammered away with short punches and hunted for potential submissions. It was a complete and utter blowout.
Moldavsky, 28, has rattled off four consecutive victories.
In other action, Grant Neal (3-0, 2-0 Bellator) cut down Claude Wilcox (1-2, 0-2 Bellator) with punches 3:37 into the third round of their light heavyweight clash; Josh Hill (19-3, 1-0 Bellator) walked away with a unanimous decision over Vinicius Zani (11-6, 0-1 Bellator) in a three-round bantamweight encounter, drawing 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 scores from the judges; Chris Hatley (8-2, 1-0 Bellator) was awarded a split decision—29-28, 28-29, 29-28—over Gaston Bolanos (5-3, 5-3 Bellator) in a three-round featherweight duel; Terry Britton (6-2, 1-0 Bellator) eked out a split decision—29-28, 28-29, 29-28—against Gabriel Varga (1-1, 1-1 Bellator) in a three-round featherweight clash; Denise Kielholtz (5-2, 5-1 Bellator) submitted Kristina Williams (3-3, 3-3 Bellator) with a rear-naked choke 2:15 into the first-round of their women’s flyweight pairing; Keith Lee (6-3, 1-0 Bellator) took a unanimous decision from Shawn Bunch (9-5, 6-4 Bellator) in a three-round bantamweight tilt, carrying the scorecards with 30-26, 29-28 and 29-27 marks from the judges; and Christian Edwards (3-0, 3-0 Bellator) laid claim to a unanimous verdict—30-26, 30-26, 30-25—over DiMarcco Hutchison (3-3, 0-1 Bellator) in their three-round scrap at 205 pounds.