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Bellator 239: Losses for Ruth, Fortune, Bunch; Crutchmer still unbeaten

It was a rough night for former top-ranked amateur wrestlers, as Ed Ruth, Tyrell Fortune and Shawn Bunch all came out on the losing end of their bouts at Bellator 239 at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla. Friday night. One exception: former Oklahoma State mat star Kyle Crutchmer tallied another victory in his young pro mixed martial arts career via first-round submission

Ruth loses unanimous decision to Amosov

Here's how Sherdog.com opened its coverage of the main event at Bellator 239:

"American Top Team's Yaroslav Amosov kept his perfect professional record intact and climbed yet another rung on the Bellator MMA ladder, as he notched a unanimous decision over three-time NCAA wrestling champion Ed Ruth in the Bellator 239 headliner."

Ed Ruth and Yaroslav Amosov (Photo/Bellator)
All three judges scored the welterweight (170-pound) bout 29-28 for Amosov.

"In the main event, Ruth had a hard time getting anything going against the talented Ukrainian fighter as Amosov was able to stuff Ruth's takedowns, sometimes in truly impressive fashion," according to MMAFighting.com "Conversely, when he wasn't shucking off takedowns, Amosov was able to land decent punches and even scored takedowns of his own on the decorated collegiate wrestler. The fight ended up turning largely into a volume kickboxing match, with Amosov's punches outscoring Ruth's range kicking game."

After the win, Yaroslav Amosov paid tribute to Ed Ruth.

"It was a very, very tough fight," Amosov told MMA Junkie. "It was the most difficult fight of my life. But I always believe in myself. He was a very good wrestler, but I'm also a very good wrestler.

"I'm fighting in a very tough division in Bellator. It's one of the toughest divisions in the world with a lot of wrestlers and strikers. I'm happy to be among these strong fighters."

It was only the second loss of Ruth's pro MMA career which he launched in November 2016 with the Bellator organization. The former Penn State wrestling champ is now 8-2. Amosov remains perfect at 23-0 overall, and 4-0 in Bellator.

Fortune suffers first loss of pro MMA career

"In the surprise of the evening, veteran wrestler Tim Johnson shocked the Bellator universe by cold-cocking elite heavyweight prospect Tyrell Fortune in one of the biggest upsets of the year thus far," reported MMA Fighting.com. "Fortune entered the bout as a -800 favorite and was expected to keep his rise up the ranks moving right along but just 2 minutes and 35 seconds into the first round, Johnson pushed Fortune back up against the cage and unloaded a right hook perfectly on the button of Fortune that turned the lights out immediately and handed the former national champion wrestler his first loss in MMA."

The Johnson-Fortune match had been previously booked for Bellator 233, only to have it fall through until it was added to the Bellator 239 card last month.

With this first loss, Fortune, who started his MMA career in November 2016, is now 8-1 overall, with the same mark in Bellator competition. Johnson improves to 13-6 overall and is now 1-2 in Bellator bouts.

The 30-year-old Fortune brought impressive amateur wrestling credentials to this weekend's match-up, as a two-time Oregon high school state champ, two-time national junior college champ at Clackamas Community College, and NCAA Division II heavyweight champ for the now-defunct mat program at Grand Canyon University.

Crutchmer submits a win, while Bunch falls

In other preliminary action, Kyle Crutchmer, two-time Big 12 champ and NCAA All-American for Oklahoma State, scored a first-round submission of Scott Futell in a 175-pound contract weight preliminary bout added to the Bellator 239 event just two weeks ago. The 26-year-old Crutchmer is now 6-0 in his professional mixed martial arts career launched in June 2018, and 2-0 within the Bellator organization.

And, in a bantamweight (135-pound) preliminary card match, Shawn Bunch -- a two-time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler at Edinboro University -- came out on the losing end of a unanimous decision to Keith Lee. Judges scored it 30-26, 29-28, 29-27 for Lee. The 36-year-old Bunch is now 9-5 overall in an MMA career going back to 2012, and 2-2 in Bellator.

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