Bellator’s welterweight title unification is finally upon us, as grappling phenoms Yaroslav Amosov (26-0) and Logan Storley (14-0) face off this Saturday, February 25th in Dublin, Ireland.
Amosov took time away from MMA to join the armed conflict efforts in his native Ukraine, and is now back to face his newest challenge. Logan Storley quietly joined Bellator’s ranks after being an accomplished amateur wrestler, and has done more than just impress. Being brought along at at steady pace by matchmakers, he’s handled almost every challenge in his way utilizing his control and effective, yet simple, standup. Amosov has had an impressive run as well, netting four anaconda chokes and one D’Arce on his record. While most of his Bellator wins have been decisions, they’ve had similar beats to them.
It’s important to note here that this is a rematch of their 2020 encounter. That fight ended in a split decision victory for Amosov, but it was close enough that it feels like there’s a fair chance we won’t see the same bout twice. Storley’s made progress in his overall game both in his wrestling control, but mostly his standup. Amosov has had the time away for most of the past year, but returned to American Top Team to sharpen his tools and expand his skillset.
An interesting wrinkle for the undercard of this event is its ‘SBG Ireland vs the World’ theme. How does it work? Simple. 10 out of the 18 fights on the card have a participant from Ireland’s largest MMA franchise.
SBG Ireland product Pedro Carvalho (13-6) remains a fixture for Bellator’s featherweight division. He’s looking to earn back-to-back victories following his somewhat surprising win over Mads Burnell last time out. He’s gonna have his hands full, though, coming up against Canadian Jeremy Kennedy—who has two straight wins over Emmanuel Sanchez and Aaron Pico (who suffered a very funky shoulder injury). For my money, I think we can expect a battle that will mostly be contested on the feet, with a lot of hard fought exchanges in the pocket.
Local favorite Peter Queally (13-7, 1 draw) meets Bryce Logan (12-7) in a less than thrilling bit of matchmaking, while Sinead Kavanaugh (8-5) meets another hard hitter in Janay Harding (6-6) further down the card. Ciaran Clarke (6-0) faces Leonardos Sinis (11-5, 1 draw). Karl Moore (10-2) meets ACB vet Maciej Rozanski (14-3), and Charlie Ward (10-5) is back in the saddle against England’s Mike Shipman (14-4). Darragh Kelly, Brian Moore, Kenny Mokhonoana and Richie Smullen will also be on this card, adding to the count of representatives out of various SBG camps.
Oleg Popov (15-1) makes his Bellator debut against Turkey’s Gokhan Saricam (8-1) in a battle of big-swinging chunky kings. You may remember Popov from his bout last year where he obliterated Bigfoot Silva. (No, that’s too depressing and I will absolutely not link to that one)
Elina Kallionidou (9-4) hit a rough patch but looks like she’s back to her winning ways, riding two consecutive wins via finishes. She’s up against submission ace Jena Bishop (4-0). Italy’s Daniele Scatizzi (12-6) gets to fight Dmytri Hrytsenko (7-0) in what should be a fun action bout.
Finally, the opening fight on the card is a quality one, with Khasan Magomedsharipov (7-0) starting the festivities. Yes, he’s Zabit’s brother. Yes, he’s looking to make a name for himself outside of that. He’s got a good opportunity to impress yet again as he meets Brazil’s Rafael Hudson (7-4).
WEIGH IN RESULTS
You can check out the weigh-ins here (cued to start):
Yaroslav Amosov (169.4) vs. Logan Storley (169.4) – Bellator welterweight unification bout
Pedro Carvalho (145.4) vs. Jeremy Kennedy (146.0) - Featherweight
Bryce Logan (155.8) vs. Peter Queally (155.4) - Lightweight
Janay Harding (145.1) vs. Sinead Kavanagh (146.0) - Featherweight
Ciaran Clarke (146.4) vs. Leonardo Sinis (148.8)** – 147.5lb catchweight
Karl Moore (205.4) vs. Maciej Rozanski (205.6) - Light heavyweight
Mike Shipman (184.8) vs. Charlie Ward (185.2) - Middlweight
Oleg Popov (248.2) vs. Gokhan Saricam (247.4) - Heavyweight
Andy Manzolo (185.0) vs. Norbert Novenyi Jr. (185.6) - Middleweight
Luca Iovine (134.6) vs. Brian Moore (135.8) - Bantamweight
Piotr Niedzielski (145.1) vs. Richie Smullen (144.8) - Featherweight
Darragh Kelly (145.2) vs. Dorval Jordan (145.2) - Featherweight
Asael Adjoudj (145.8) vs. Liam McCracken (145.8) - Featherweight
Jena Bishop (125.2) vs. Elina Kallionidou (124.8) - Flyweight
Craig McIntosh (145.8) vs. Kenny Mokhonoana (145.6) - Featherweight
Dmytrii Hrytsenko (164.2) vs. Daniele Scatizzi (164.2) - Catchweight
Steven Hill (170.0) vs. Joel Kouadja (171.0) - Welterweight
Rafael Hudson (145.2) vs. Khasan Magomedsharipov (145.6) - Featherweight
**Sinis missed weight, will be fined a portion of his purse.
Bellator 291: Amosov vs Storley takes place this Saturday morning starting at 11:30am for those of us stateside. The prelims begin at 11:30 on Bellator’s YouTube channel, followed by the main card starting at 4:00pm exclusively on Showtime.