There’s a saying out there that goes like this: “All good things must come to an end.” Let’s be frank: The last several months haven’t been anything close to a picnic for Bellator MMA.
After several months of backstage drama regarding a sale of the promotion to the PFL in the amount of $500 million (USD), one era for the MMA promotion closes on Friday night. Showtime is set to air its final Bellator card with Bellator 301 (9 pm ET/ 6 pm PT.)
The Paramount Global-owned cabler is set to depart the combat sports world and sports television business proper with the close of the current calendar year in order to shift its focus to scripted programming. This move brings an end to three years of Bellator shows on the premium network.
In addition, the station’s Showtime Championship Boxing series, which has been on the air since 1986, will end its run after a PBC pay-per-view next Saturday. But what a great way for Showtime to leave Bellator MMA behind with a stacked show for the last ride.
Welterweight Title at Stake in Bellator 301 Main Event
At the top of Bellator 301, the promotion has a championship doubleheader for your entertainment. Immediately following the co-main event and a battle for a unified bantamweight championship, the king at 170 lbs. will be coronated in the Bellator 301 main event.
Current titleholder Yaroslav Amosov (27-0 MMA, 8-0 Bellator) puts his belt on the line in the last fight on Showtime when he meets No. 2 contender Jason Jackson (16-4 MMA, 7-1 Bellator). As is the case throughout MMA, the Bellator 301 main event is an advertised maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round to close the show and itinerary of events for Bellator in 2023.
𝗜𝗧'𝗦 𝗙𝗜𝗚𝗛𝗧 𝗪𝗘𝗘𝗞 👊
A world title double-header is set to light up the @WintrustArena on Friday night alongside a stacked card featuring the last #BellatorLWGP semifinal 🔥#Bellator301 | Fri, Nov 17 | @SHOsports pic.twitter.com/JWdlm8PZCa
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) November 13, 2023
Bellator 301 Main Event Fighter Comparison and Betting Odds
Heading into the Bellator 301 main event this Friday night, Jason Jackson stands as the taller man at 6-foot-1, compared to the 5-foot-11 frame of Yaroslav Amosov. Additionally, Jackson owns a 3 1/2-inch reach advantage (78 1/2 inches to 75 inches even) over Amosov ahead of this championship confrontation.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the oddsmakers have champion Yaroslav Amosov installed as a -420 favorite, with Jason Jackson countering as a +280 underdog. If you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening this weekend, please wager responsibly.
Yaroslav Amosov Set to Prove Age is Only a Number
Yaroslav Amosov has yet to lose thus far in his professional MMA career. Most recently, the Ukrainian successfully defended his strap with a unanimous decision victory against Logan Storley (15-2 MMA, 10-2 Bellator) in a rematch on Feb. 25.
Amosov’s win was an emotional one, having happened on the one-year anniversary of the ongoing civil conflict between his home country and Russia. With the war still very much active, everyone in his homeland will be rooting him on this week.
The champ has also hit a personal milestone ahead of the Bellator 301 main event. Friday’s bout will be Amosov’s first since turning 30 years of age in September.
Most people associate an athlete turning 30 with his athletic peak. Amosov looks to be peaking at the right time.
He’s also the younger fighter of the two in this contest. Jason Jackson just turned 33 two weeks ago.
Can he defend the championship yet again and run his unbeaten streak to 28 fights in a row? Tune into the headliner and find out.
Jason Jackson Returns After 16-Month Layoff
In the other corner, Jason Jackson enters the main event having posted a record of 5-0 across his last five fights. All told, he’s on a six-fight winning streak dating back to December of 2019. Last time out, he scored a unanimous decision win over Douglas Lima (33-11 MMA, 15-7 Bellator) more than a year ago in Bellator 283 on July 22, 2022.
Recently, he appeared on MMA Junkie Radio and outlined the challenging road he’s taken to get to the headliner in Chicago.
“I had to work and earn my title shot and when I go out there, a man who earned his way here is not just going to give it all up,” Jackson began. “You have to kill me to get it from me because it wasn’t given to me, and I’m not going to take it for granted. So, if they think I’m just going to come lay down, I’m definitely getting my hand raised and I’m going to put every single thing into it that I have.”
With Jackson not having fought in roughly 16 months, the age-old question has popped up once again: Just how much ring rust does he have? We’ll know soon enough.
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
Stylistically, the Bellator 301 main event looks to favor Yaroslav Amosov, a Sambo fighter, with Jason Jackson countering as a mixed martial artist.
Look for Amosov to Lock Up a Submission
During the second round of a contracted catchweight at 175 lbs., Amosov dumped Rickels inside 30 seconds and never let him go. Simply put, he was too good to be beaten that night, softening Rickels up with a brief burst of ground and pound before transitioning to half guard.
Upon landing some open-palm shots, Amosov applied the torque to sink in a D’arce choke and put Rickels to sleep. If he drops Jason Jackson a single time, Amosov will be 28-0 after Friday night.
Jason Jackson Can Punch His Way to the Win
In the other corner, Jason Jackson has a puncher’s chance at unseating Yaroslav Amosov as champion, provided that he uses his fists to get the job done. He fought Dhiego Lima in Titan FC almost seven years ago and it was a short night at the office.
Right from the start, Lima tried to take Jackson down but he neutralized him by escaping the clinch. After separating from Lima, Jackson stalked him and took his time to plot his next move.
A right-handed punch knocked Dhiego Lima down, followed by a quick flurry of shots to the head to punctuate a knockout. All it takes for Jason Jackson to disrupt Yaroslav Amosov’s gameplan is a single punch.
Showtime couldn’t have asked for a better way to end its partnership with Bellator than this. You’ve got an undefeated champ battling a challenger who’s worked hard to get here. What a satisfying finale.
Prediction: Yaroslav Amosov by Unanimous Decision.