Yaroslav Amosov made a successful return to MMA with a unanimous decision victory over Logan Storley at Bellator 291 in Dublin.
In his first fight since fighting in the Ukrainian army against Russia’s invasion, the welterweight champion defended his title.
Amosov, 28, delivered a near-perfect performance that was relentless and precise.
Amosov won 50-45, according to all three judges, and he dedicated his victory to Ukraine.
“I love Ukrainian people,” Amosov said. “I’d like to thank my Ukrainian army for its defense and for assisting my country. Please keep in mind what is going on in Ukraine.”
On the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Amosov returned to the Bellator cage.
He rushed his family across the border 12 months ago before driving 36 hours back to his hometown of Irpin to defend it.
He canceled his scheduled first title defense last May to stay in Ukraine, giving Storley the opportunity to become interim champion in his absence, but has since been persuaded by family and friends to promote peace in Ukraine by resuming his fighting career.
View highlights from the Bellator 291 main event.
Amosov has used the spotlight admirably to tell his and Ukraine’s stories and has represented his country admirably throughout the week in Dublin, none more so than his near-perfect performance against Storley, 30.
He walked into the cage wearing a T-shirt with the colors of the Ukrainian flag and the words “colors of freedom,” just like Oleksandr Usyk did when he faced Anthony Joshua last August.
Despite the fact that both men are skilled grapplers, the first round was entirely on the feet.
Amosov’s shots were sharp and concise, landing a hard left on Storley in an exchange before forcing the American back with another flurry moments later.