This week, there are a host of key events from several of the big players in MMA, including the UFC, Bellator MMA, and RIZIN. Among them, names like Ed Ruth and Tyrell Fortune will look to shake off the prospect label.
At Bellator 239 this weekend, Ed Ruth makes something of a star turn. Taking on the vastly more experienced Yaroslav Amosov, Ruth is headlining a Bellator card for the first time. It’s a significant milestone for a welterweight prospect on the radar for years now. At 8-1, Ruth’s only loss came to Neiman Gracie as part of the promotion’s welterweight grand prix. Should he pass this particular test, he may very well leave the prospect label behind.
Heavyweight Tyrell Fortune is in a similar spot. He’s facing his second straight UFC alum in Tim Johnson, after dispatching of Azunna Anyanwu last time out. Fortune (8-0) is considered by many to be the future of the division, despite not even qualifying for a Wikipedia entry (though that is mostly due to the site’s broken notability rules for mixed martial artists). In any case, a win over Johnson, and you can expect to see Fortune begin to clash with some of the bigger names in the division.
Now it’s on to our Weekly MMA Pospect Report!
ACA 104 | Friday | Russia
Heavyweight: Evgeny Goncharov (14-2)
Evgeny Goncharov is another solid heavyweight prospect out of Russia. On the feet, he does have some power, but on the mat is where he wants to be. Goncharov is an excellent wrestler who will get the body lock and get huge power takedowns, showing how strong he is. On top, he has some slick grappling for a big guy, but his ground-and-pound is his best aspect where he throws at a high rate and can do that all fight. He fights Mukhamad Vakhaev (7-4-1).
Lightweight: Ali Bagov (28-10)
In his 28 wins, Ali Bagov has beat opponents like Bubba Jenkins, Eduard Vartanyan, Leandro Silva, Herdeson Batista, Khusein Khaliev, and current UFC fighter Ramazan Emeev. Bagov is totally a grappler/wrestler. He doesn’t have much on the feet, but his ability to close the distance and level-change to get the fight to the mat is quite smooth. His nickname is “The Hulk” and it suits him well as he is very strong and tough to get away from when he gets a hold of his opponents. Bagov’s jiu-jitsu is slick as displayed by his 22 wins by submission. His submission threats are complemented by heavy ground-and-pound. He fights Adam Townsend (19-7).
Bellator 239 | Friday | US
Welterweight: Ed Ruth (8-1)
Ed Ruth is a very accomplished wrestler. His accolades include 2012, 2013, 2014 NCAA D1 Wrestling Champion, a 4x All-American, and a 4x Big Ten Champion. With his wrestling background and training with top camp Jackson-Wink MMA, Ruth has really developed into a promising prospect. He’s been getting easy takedowns and the mount along with controlling back position, showing off his BJJ background. Ruth has also shown finishing ability with heavy ground and the wrestler has even scored a knockout by a punch by a knee, showing that he has been improving on the feet. He fights Yaroslav Amosov (22-0).
Welterweight: Yaroslav Amosov (22-0)
In Yaroslav Amosov’s stand-up, he combines his kicks and punches extremely well. He moves in and out fluidly with his punches and uses his reach well too. Yaroslav doesn’t have a lot of knockout power, but he is a finisher, finishing all but four of his wins. Amosov also has very good submission skills with nine submission wins, using his long arms mostly for chokes. He also has excellent takedown defense. He does need to work on his cardio though. Amosov fights Ed Ruth (8-1).
Heavyweight: Tyrell Fortune (8-0)
Tyrell Fortune has an accomplished background in wrestling, as an NCAA Division II champion, and a multi-time high school state champion. His stand-up is improving; he has some power and is pretty good in the clinch, but is still pretty green. When Fortune does get the takedown, he’s shown he’s knowledgeable in the top position and possesses some very effective ground and pound, which is one of his best assets. He fights former UFC fighter Tim Johnson (12-6). We spoke to Johnson ahead of the fight, who is of the opinion that Fortune is already bucking the prospect label.
Light Heavyweight: Valentin Moldavsky (8-1)
Valentin Moldavsky is mainly a wrestler. He knows how to effectively position himself for the takedown, whether that is in the clinch, where he is at his strongest, being able to control the position. Or if he just grabs a single leg for the takedown. On top, Moldavsky is as heavy as you can be as he is strong on top due to his background in Sambo. On the feet, he doesn’t go right for the knockout as he is more of a counter striker with a lot of power coupled with solid defense. Just a few adjustments would make him a complete fighter. He fights Javy Ayala (11-7).
Light heavyweight: Christian Edwards (2-0)
Christian Edwards is only 2-0 as a professional but went 3-0 as an ammy as well. Edwards is one of the hottest prospects today coming out of Jackson-Wink MMA and is a sparring partner of UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. He’s 2-0 in the Bellator cage with a highlight-reel head kick knockout win in his latest fight. A young kid but he has the attributes to go really far in this sport. He fights Marco Hutch (3-2).
Lightweight: Shamil Nikaev (9-0)
Shamil Nikaev is mainly an aggressive wrestler, often shooting for double-leg takedowns to set up powerful slams. On top, Nikaev is as heavy and as skilled as they come. He passes guard very easily and is able to get dominant positions in every fight. His stand-up isn’t bad since he can kick, has good hands, and has shown some good power. He does get wild at times as shown in his war against current UFC fighter, Christos Giagos. He fights a good test in Bobby Lee (11-4).
Welterweight: Kyle Crutchmer (5-0)
Kyle Crutchmer has a background in wrestling with a very successful Division I career at Oklahoma State University. He was a two-time All-American and a two-time Big 12 champion. There isn’t much MMA footage on Kyle, but he has finished three of his five fights. Based on what’s out there on Kyle, he obviously has excellent wrestling. He’s also shown good and active ground-and-pound. He fights Scott Futrell (11-9).
Bantamweight: Josh Hill (18-3)
Josh Hill is more so a veteran who only has losses to Marlon Moraestwice and Taylor Lapilus. Hill is a solid wrestler with good ground and pound and solid top control. On the feet, his leg kicks are arguably his best weapon. He’s gone the distance at times which has proven that his cardio is one of his stronger abilities. Hill fights Vinicius Zani (1-5).