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Jackson shocks Amosov by KO, captures Bellator welterweight belt

Lucas Noonan / Bellator MMA

"The Ass-Kicking Machine" pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the year at Bellator 301.

Jason Jackson knocked out Yaroslav Amosov at the 2:08 mark of the third round to become the new Bellator welterweight champion in Friday's main event in Chicago.

In the midst of a wild exchange, Jackson dropped Amosov with a right hand. With Amosov on his knees, Jackson followed up with big punches. Amosov stood up briefly, but Jackson landed a winging uppercut that face-planted the former champion.

"This feels like a dream, and I woke up and I still feel like I'm dreaming, because I can't believe it," Jackson said in his postfight interview. "Hey, remember this: Every man has a dream, and every man has a nightmare. And you're looking at him. I'm a f-----g nightmare."

Amosov, a 5-to-1 betting favorite against Jackson, was 27-0 as a professional MMA fighter heading into his Bellator 301 title defense.

After a competitive first round, Jackson started to dominate in the second. The Kill Cliff FC product pressured Amosov throughout the fight and landed hard punches. Jackson cracked Amosov with a particularly powerful right hand in Round 2, but Amosov remained upright.

Amosov's timing seemed off throughout the contest, and he struggled to score takedowns. He briefly got Jackson to the mat late in the second stanza but didn't do much with the position.

With the victory, Jackson is now riding a seven-fight winning streak and is 8-1 in Bellator. He defeated former champion Douglas Lima in July 2022 before the title shot.

Jackson flew under the radar of most MMA fans but has been putting in the work for a while. He competed on Dana White's Contender Series in 2017 in hopes of signing with the UFC, but he lost his fight due to injury TKO. After that, the 33-year-old was victorious in a one-off bout with Bellator, went back to the regional circuit and won two more fights, and then signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator in 2019 that has taken him to the top of the 170-pound division.

Amosov was regarded as one of the top welterweights in the world before suffering his first career defeat. The Ukrainian fighter dominated Lima to win the Bellator championship in 2021. Amosov then spent nearly two years out of the cage to defend his home country from Russian invasion. The 30-year-old returned to action in February to handily beat Logan Storley for the second time in his first title defense.

Amosov, who began his Bellator run in 2018, had won eight straight fights in the promotion.

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