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25th Feb 2023

“I was hunting for this fight” – Redemption and last chances at Bellator 291


“I carry the Irish flag the same way I carry my Portuguese flag with me, with much pride.”

This Saturday evening, Bellator 291 will take place at the 3Arena in Dublin. The headliner of Saturday’s event will be Amosov vs. Storley 2. Both fighters met before at Bellator 252, in 2020, with the Ukrainian successful.

This time, writes Robert Glembin, Amosov is not only fighting for a belt, but for his country as well. Yaroslav Amosov is not only the current Bellator Welterweight World Champion but also part of the Ukrainian military, defending his country in the war against Russia.

After the fight, Amosov plans to return to Ukraine, see his wife and son, and defend his country again. Asked why he came back from Ukraine to defend his belt, he stated:

“It’s been a very hard year for Ukraine and the people in the country. Now, my family, friends, team, and coach say, ‘You must go defend your belt’.”

Amosov added that his motivation to fight and defend his welterweight belt was because of his family, especially for his son. “I want to play with my son because I’ve seen he’s getting bigger,” he said. “I miss them a lot. It’s different now because I understand that I’m not just a sportsman. I train hard, but the number one is to save your family and your people.”

Yaroslav AmosovYaroslav Amosov and Logan Storley. (Credit: Lucas Noonan/Bellator MMA)

‘I have more wins than he has fights’

Yaroslav Amosov was also asked whether he felt physically prepared for this fight. “I have a lot of experience and I’ve recovered,” he replied. “I miss the sport; I want to step back in the cage. I’m ready, many people support me and it gives me great energy.”

His opponent, Logan Storely whose only defeat was against Amosov, is very optimistic about the upcoming fight. He said, “I have dramatically improved since November 2020. And that’s what any great fighter will do to continue to improve. That’s what you have to do in a sport that’s always evolving and always getting better.”

Another interesting fight on Saturday will be the featherweight contender fight on the main card between fifth-ranked Pedro Carvalho and third-ranked Jeremy Kennedy. Carvalho was asked how special it is for him to fight in Dublin, the city he lives and trains in. He replied:

“This amazing crowd has been supporting me from day one, I never felt that I emigrated here, it always felt like home here and that’s why I carry the Irish flag the same way I carry my Portuguese flag with me, with much pride. That’s why I don’t call Ireland my second home, Ireland is my home, period.”

The spectators will surely be on Pedro Carvalho’s side, which Jeremy Kennedy is aware of. When Jeremy Kennedy was asked about the crowd at the Bellator 291 media day, he replied “I’m definitely expecting the energy, I’ve watched these events from home and I’m like, ‘I can’t wait to be there’. The boos and cheers, it could be for me, it could be for him, but it doesn’t matter once we’re in the cage, it’s just all noise. I’ve fought around the world, so it’s just another experience and energy to take in, but I’ve prepared mentally.”

Jeremy Kennedy was waiting for this fight against Pedro Carvalho to happen. “The talking is done, the work’s done, it’s a matter of getting in there now. I was hunting for that fight because he wanted nothing to do with it and then he had nowhere to run.”

According to Kennedy, his opponent Carvalho refused to take the fight before “because he’s not a big enough name”, that made him feel disrespected and made him more eager to fight

Kennedy was not done there. “I have more wins than Carvalho had fights,” he declared.

*You can watch the main Bellator 291 card (from 9pm) on Virgin Media 3, with the prelims on the Bellator Youtube channel.

  • Reporting by Robert Glembin, for SportsJOE

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