Mixed Martial Arts: Ukrainian Amosov retains Bellator belt with dominant victory

Yaroslav Amosov (right) outclassed Logan Storley to retain his Bellator welterweight belt. PHOTO: BELLATOR MMA/FACEBOOK

DUBLIN – Ukrainian Yaroslav Amosov made a triumphant return to mixed martial arts after defending his country against Russia’s invasion, retaining his Bellator welterweight title in a dominant win by unanimous decision over Logan Storley on Saturday.

Amosov, who told Reuters about his experiences defending Ukraine ahead of the title fight, put on a striking clinic to retain the championship belt he recovered from his mother’s house after his hometown Irpin was liberated in 2022.

“Ukrainian people, I love you. I love you, my people,” said Amosov, draped in his country’s flag and with tears of emotion in his voice. “Please do not forget what is happening.”

Wearing a blue and yellow T-shirt with the words “Colours Of Freedom” emblazoned on it on the way to the cage, the 29-year-old Amosov was warmly welcomed by the crowd at the Three Arena in Dublin. Several Ukrainian flags were seen and chants of “Ukraine” and “Amosov” rang around the venue.

American Storley, 30, who suffered his only previous professional loss when he dropped a razor-thin split decision to Amosov in November 2020, had no answer to the Ukrainian’s precision striking and was outclassed over the five rounds.

The win extends Amosov’s professional record to 27-0, the longest active unbeaten streak in all of MMA. He needs three wins to surpass Khabib Nurmagomedov’s all-time record of 29-0.

When Amosov beat Douglas Lima to win Bellator’s welterweight title in June 2021, little did he know that defending his belt would take second place to defending Irpin.

His fight against Storley comes a year and a day after Russia’s invasion, which saw him abandon his sporting career to join the military.

Despite his undoubted skill in hand-to-hand combat, Amosov had to learn battlefield tactics and how to handle weapons before he joined the fray.

“Before the war, I had no military training and I tried not to touch the weapons – although I may have liked how they looked, but I tried not to touch them,” he said. “I think, as for every person, when he first gets into military activities, he has to get used to it at first.”

A video of Amosov retrieving his championship belt from his mother’s home after Irpin was liberated, posted on April 1 2022, went viral and became a symbol of the relief of his fellow townspeople.

“Everyone was happy the occupation (of the town) was over and many people could go out, they could just eat, drink and not be afraid of being shot,” he said.

“There are no hostilities (in Irpin), everything is normal, but no one knows... sometimes (Russians) launch missiles.

“Sometimes they can hit just an ordinary civilian house, where people are just living, sleeping, doing their own thing, where there is no military activity.” REUTERS

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