Javy Ayala is coming off of the biggest win of his career, as he TKO’d Frank Mir back in December. Now, in the co-main event of Bellator 225 this weekend, he’s set to take on the former champion in Vitaly Minakov.
Although Javy Ayala hasn’t fought since December, he isn’t worried about his layoff. Instead, he says he used that time to better his game and was excited when he finally got a fight offer — especially when he saw Minakov’s name on the contract.
“I feel like it does help because I can focus on working on new things not just grinding for the fight camp. Just learning new weapons to my game and being a better fighter,” Javy Ayala told BJPENN.com. “I want to face the best and top guys, that way I can prove I do belong and belong as an elite guy in Bellator. To do this I have to beat these top guys.”
Minakov has only lost once in his professional career, but Javy Ayala believes he can bring that number to two. He is confident in his skills and believes their styles match up well for him, especially given the fact that they are both strikers who have good jiu-jitsu.
“I have faced some tough guys, and he is definitely up there. But, my coaches and I feel like whatever we do best, just stick the punches, and put him on his back it will be a good night,” he said. “Just do what I always do and it will be good. I think it will be an exciting fight. Something for the fans for everyone to enjoy. Just expect some fireworks.”
Something Javy Ayala has been studying about Minakov’s game is the way he throws his punches. He says the Russian rarely throws combinations and sets his feet the same way every time he throws a punch. So, if he can see the punches coming, he knows he will be able to slip them and counter back.
“For me, he doesn’t throw more than two punch combinations. He throws hard but I can see how he sets them up so I will really be paying close attention,” Ayala explained. “My cardio will be a factor when this guy starts to get tired. [I need to] just push the pace.”
Ultimately, if Javy Ayala does beat Vitaly Minakov at Bellator 225, he could very well be next in line for the title shot. But, for right now, he isn’t focusing on that, instead, he is just worried about the fight.
“It would be a huge win given he was the former champ and being undefeated for so long. It would just show these guys I have what it takes to beat these guys,” Ayala concluded. “As for the title, I actually am not thinking about that. That is something that I hope happens but nothing is cemented.”
Who do you think will win the fight between Javy Ayala and Vitaly Minakov at Bellator 225?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 8/22/2019.