After a 14-month layoff, Bellator heavyweight Javy Ayala is ready to pick up where he left off when he faces Valentin Moldavsky at Bellator 239.
When heavyweight Javy Ayala steps back in the cage on Friday night to face off against Valentin Moldavsky on the main card of Bellator 239, he will end the longest layoff of his career – a 14-month absence from the sport. “Eye Candy” was last seen in action when he picked up the biggest win of his career by defeating former UFC heavyweight champion, Frank Mir back at Bellator 212 in December 2018.
“It means a lot to beat Frank Mir,” Ayala told Cageside Press. “It feels really good to be able to go in there and get a win over somebody that I idolized early off in my career. If people were to ask me my favorite fighter, I would have said Frank Mir. He kinda represents everything I want to be in the sport. I wanted to be good on the ground and good standing up, just a good well-rounded fighter. I feel like if I got right back in after the win, I would have got a lot more media attention.”
The 31-year-old was slated twice to square off with former Bellator heavyweight champion, Vitaly Minakov in 2019 but the battle fell through both times. They were originally going to meet at Bellator 225 back in August but Ayala was pulled from the contest by the state commission due to illness just hours before the planned matchup. They were rescheduled to face off at Bellator 232 but this time Minakov was the one pulled from the event due to travel VISA issues.
It appears the California native has moved past a bout with Minakov and now has to deal with another Russian standout, the aforementioned Moldavsky. Ayala’s 28-year-old adversary is a former Combat Sambo World Champion with an 8-1 professional record.
“I think it is a good matchup,” Ayala said. “I feel as he is a real strong tough guy. He is a gamer, he likes to fight. I feel like my style matches up good with his style and it is going to make it a really good fight. I feel like I have the advantage with my striking. I know he is a close-quarters kinda guy. From the fights I have watched, he likes stay in tie-ups. That is something I feel like I am best at. I will be able to use a lot of my elbows, short strikes like I did against Frank Mir.”
The California native predicted he would win the fight via, “a first-round TKO.”
If Ayala is able to make his prediction a reality, he would have some serious traction going for him with back to back knockout victorious. He hopes that he can continue to roll the success on his journey to finally capture a major championship.
“I feel like I am close to a title shot,” Ayala said. “I just have to stay more active this year. I feel like I win this one and get two more fights in this year which is totally possible, I am right in that mix at well. Even when I was fighting on the local circuit, I never won a championship. To have this be the one belt that I won and have it be in one of the largest organizations in the world would be like a dream come true, a great accomplishment for my career.”
While Ayala stated that he would face any of the top big men in the promotion, he dreams of getting a chance to duel with a certain legendary combatant.
“I would love the opportunity to fight Fedor [Emelianenko], he is one of my biggest idols,” Ayala said. “Just to say that I got to get in there with him. He is tough. He is definitely one of the guys that I would want to get in therewith. I will go in there in Russia or wherever they want to take me.”