Veteran Bellator big man Javy Ayala has been out of the cage for roughly eight months and is eyeing a strong comeback. The bruising heavyweight squares off with former Bellator heavyweight champion Vitaly Minakov on Saturday, August 24 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Ayala also predicts a second-round KO of Minakov.
“My plan is always to knock every guy I fight out,” Ayala said at media day. “I think it’s going to go to about the second round and then I’ll finish him.”
During his time away, Ayala (11-7, 6-4 in Bellator) says that he was spending time with his family and adding new tools to his “arsenal of weapons,” but ultimately the game plan for Minakov (21-0) is the same as it is for every fight: get the big finish.
Javy Ayala Predicts Second Round KO
Minakov won’t be an easy out though by any stretch of the imagination. Minakov racked up an impressive 21-0 record in that time before losing to Cheick Kongo at Bellator 216. Those wins included victories over Kongo, current UFC fighter Alexander Volkov, and UFC and Strikeforce veteran Antonio Silva.
While Minakov is a difficult test in his own right, Ayala does have a history of defeating a Russian in Connecticut. In November 2016, Ayala starched Pride and Strikeforce veteran Sergei Kharitonov in just 16 seconds at Bellator 163. That victory is not lost on him as he returns to the Constitution State little less than three years later.
“I actually do think about that,” Ayala said. “Connecticut has been good to me so far, and we’ll find out on Saturday just how good it is to me.”
Ayala and Minakov square off in the co-main event of Bellator 225 in the Webster Bank Arena. Headlining the card will be a rematch between heavyweight veterans Matt Mitrione and Sergei Kharitonov. The duo will run it back after Kharitonov suffered a groin kick early in the first match, resulting in a no-contest.