Bellator 245 featured a number of solid fights including the main event, a rematch seven years in the making between Phil Davis and Lyoto Machida. Their match ended exactly the same as the first, with Davis managing to outwork Machida en route to a Decision victory. The most exciting finish of the night happened a little earlier on the card when one of Bellator’s homegrown talents, Ed Ruth, got shocked in the first round against promotional newcomer, Taylor Johnson.
Ruth is a three-time NCAA Division 1 Champion and former member of the US National team, who also excelled after a few years of BJJ, medalling at the IBJJF Pan-Ams twice as a blue belt. As a phenomenal grappling talent, he was signed by Bellator more than a year before his professional debut when Scott Coker first started to sign unproven talent and build them up. Ruth stumbled against Neiman Gracie back in 2018 and again in his last fight against Yaroslav Amosov. Both of those losses were against experienced and undefeated fighters with a metric ton of grappling ability, so his fight at Bellator 245 wasn’t supposed to go the same way.
Of course, Taylor Johnson had other ideas. The Victory MMA product had a strong start to his career with five straight wins by knockout before coming up short in his opportunity on Dana White’s Contender Series when he lost via Submission in the first round. It seems he’s made big improvements in his ground game as he came out strong against Ruth and worked tirelessly as soon as he isolated a leg, finishing the fight via Heelhook just a second shy of one minute.