Prospect Watch: Bellator 163

ed-ruth-pi-mp-vresize-1200-675-high-96A trend we are seeing more of in MMA is the crossover from collegiate wrestling to MMA. With the success that the likes of Ben Askren, Daniel Cormier, and Johny Hendricks have had since moving over from wrestling, it’s no surprise that others have followed in their paths. At the upcoming Bellator 163 event at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut, we look at two fighters with extensive wrestling backgrounds making their professional debuts and prognosticate their level of success in MMA.   Tyrell Fortune Overview: 26 year old Blackzilian product Tyrell Fortune is a rare wrestling prospect in the heavyweight division. He’s a one-time NCAA Division II champion at Grand Canyon University and two time junior college national champion in wrestling. In addition to his collegiate experience, he has represented Team USA in several competitions. What’s Next: Fortune makes his Bellator debut against another fighter making his professional debut in Kentucky’s Cody Miskell. This is a showcase opportunity for the skilled wrestler who is a thick, powerful heavyweight who will weigh in at the 265 pound limit. In Bellator’s under developed heavyweight division, Fortune should rise quickly. He has the physical strength to be able to get his opponents to the ground where he has a real advantage. Training with the Blackzilians should give him high level training to develop the stand-up skills necessary to compete with the top heavyweights in Bellator sooner rather than later. Ed Ruth Overview: One of the most exciting MMA signings in sometime, three time NCAA Division I wrestling champion Ed Ruth has made the crossover to MMA. Ruth began training in MMA as early as 2014, but wanted to see if he could make it to the 2016 Olympics before starting his pro MMA career. In the latest decade, there have only been five wrestlers who have won at least three NCAA wrestling titles. Only one other (Jake Rosholt) made the transition to MMA. What’s Next: The 26 year old middleweight appears to be a natural for MMA.  His athleticism is off the charts for a wrestler, but what really sets him apart is his transition game. He has the ability to secure takedowns from any number of positions. His athleticism puts him a couple moves ahead of his opponents. Combine that was aggressive approach and he’s a grappler that I can see becoming a fan favorite in Bellator.

Written by Jay Primetown

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