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Bellator 239 predictions, preview for ‘Ruth vs Amosov’

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MMA: Bellator 186-Ed Ruth vs Chris Dempsey Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Bellator 239: “Ruth vs. Amosov” comes to WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla., on Feb. 21, 2020. In the main event, an undefeated Welterweight contender meets a three-time NCAA division I champion atop an explosive card that will air free on Paramount Network and stream on DAZN.

Let’s break it down:

170 lbs.: Ed Ruth (8-1) vs. Yaroslav Amosov (22-0)

After having his unbeaten streak snapped at Bellator 213, “EZ” Ed Ruth had to bounce back from the disappointment of being bounced out in the first round of the Welterweight Grand Prix. Fortunately for him, back-to-back wins over Kiichi Kunimoto and Jason Jackson followed, setting him up for a main event this Friday in Thackerville. It’s hard to call this a No. 1 contender’s fight per se, but you could argue that the winner of this bout would earn a spot in a No. 1 contender eliminator match if they play their cards right.

For the flawless “Dynamo” Yaroslav Amosov there is both more to win and more to lose. While Ruth had his opportunity to earn a title shot in the tournament and came up short, Amosov has been relentlessly beating opponents for seven straight years to arrive at this moment. A win makes him Bellator’s own version of Khabib Nurmagomedov, and a loss makes him yesterday’s news and sacrifices all that hard work for nothing. He doesn’t need any more motivation to fly all the way from Ukraine to United States for the fight than that.

While Amosov looked impressive in a Catchweight contest at Bellator 225, he needs a much bigger win than that to say “I’m the man around here.” Ruth’s standout wrestling credentials and featured push on Bellator main cards makes him the ideal opponent to make a name on. Amosov finds a finish in 82 percent of his fights (eight knockouts, 10 submissions) and stands toe to toe with Ruth at 5’11.” Ruth’s loss to Neiman Gracie showed a weakness to his Brazilian jiu-jitsu defense, but more important, a highly questionable win over Jason Jackson showed a weakness to his striking game as well. Despite being out struck in the first round and dropped in the third round, Ruth still edged out a split decision solely from takedowns. That won’t get it done against any high level submission artist and Amosov fits that bill.

Final prediction: Yaroslav Amosov via first round rear naked choke

155 lbs.: Brandon Girtz (16-8) vs. Myles Jury (17-5)

When you have the punching power of Brandon “Hurts” Girtz you don’t always have to win, you just have to deliver memorable performances that earn you return dates. That’s why Girtz is either winner of two out of his last three, or loser of four of his last six, depending on which way you want to look at it. Either way he may have more momentum going into this contest than Jury, who dropped his third straight fight in his promotional debut at Bellator 227. In fairness he was facing “Smooth” Benson Henderson, always a difficult man to beat. Unfortunately, fairness ends there if you actually watched the fight. Jury’s inability to pull the trigger when he had openings to strike suggest that the problems with his fighting career are mental, not physical, and that’s a very bad position to be in when you’re facing an explosive fighter known for bloody affairs.

Final prediction: Brandon Girtz via second round technical knockout

265 lbs.: Tyrell Fortune (8-0) vs. Timothy Johnson (12-6)

This is a tale of two Heavyweights headed in opposite directions. Timothy Johnson’s career has been on the backslide in Bellator with back-to-back knockout losses at the hands of Cheick Kongo and Vitaly Minakov, respectively, with neither fight getting past the two minute mark of round one. Tyrell Fortune has steadily improved since his 2016 debut, and in his last fight scored a convincing second round technical knockout against the more experienced Zu Anyanwu. To say this bodes well for the 34 year-old Johnson against the 29 year-old Fortune would be a serious mistake — just like it was for Johnson to accept this fight.

Final prediction: Tyrell Fortune via first round knockout

265 lbs.: Javy Ayala (11-7) vs. Valentin Moldavsky (8-1)

If big boy action brings you satisfaction then you’re in luck because we’ve got a double dose on deck. “Eye Candy” Javy Ayala is a promotional mainstay with some big wins (Sergei Kharitonov, Frank Mir) and disappointing losses (Carl Seumanutafa, Roy Nelson) that belie his overall ability. With the kind of names he’s beaten and a decade of experience he should be more than a middling Heavyweight. It’s a bad time to be one facing a bruising Russian fighter like Valentin Moldavsky. The only loss of Moldavsky’s career was a split decision fight in Rizin in 2016, and his Bellator 218 win over Linton Vassell showed he’s ready to face top rank competition. Although they stand toe to toe at 6’1” the physique is nothing alike as Moldavsky is carved from granite and Ayala is, well, not. Strength and power go the way of Moldavsky, but a crafty veteran like Ayala with huge upset wins can’t be counted out.

Final prediction: Valentin Moldavsky via unanimous decision

That’s a wrap! will deliver coverage of Bellator 239 tomorrow live on Paramount Network. To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.

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