A year ago middleweight prospect Taylor Johnson suffered his first career loss and a shot at a UFC contract after losing to Andre Muniz at DWCS. Now, the 29-year-old will start the first of his new four-fight contract with Bellator against former NCAA standout wrestler Ed Ruth.
“I was super excited man,” Johnson told The Scrap when talking about the matchup. “I’m I know that last opportunity (against Joel Bauman at Bellator 243) fell through. I think they had a few guys that weren’t interested in fighting me. I had a 205er that was at the event who didn’t care to fight me. So Bellator was like ‘Maybe this guy’s kind got something going on, people don’t really care to fight him.’ So I got offered the name Ed Ruth and you know, I jumped on it. So pretty excited, so it will be a good scrap.”
Johnson (5-1) switched things up for this fight training back home in Oregon at American Top Team Portland. Getting to work with fighters like UFC light heavyweight Ed Herman, Johnson feels the move paid off.
Ruth (8-2) is coming off his second career loss under the Bellator banner after suffering a unanimous decision setback to Yaroslav Amosov at Bellator 239 in February. The 29-year-old is now 2-2 in his last four fights and looks to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time in his career.
Despite Ruth’s exceptional wrestling background, Johnson feels comfortable anywhere the fight may go. One area Johnson sees as an advantage is the size factor, with Ruth moving back up to the middleweight division.
“He’s not a small guy, but in coming up to 185 it’s a big jump from 170,,” Johnson said. “So I don’t know I’m a decent size 185er or I’m known to have quite a bit of power too. I know I’m not gonna try it out. wrestle him. So all right, yeah, no, I think it’s gonna be probably a striking match or he’s gonna get exhausted trying to take me down I assume.”
Bellator 245 takes place Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Former light heavyweight champion Phil Davis rematches Lyoto Machida in the main event.