Jamaica’s Jason Jackson hands Yaroslav Amosov first loss to become Bellator Welterweight Champion

By Sports Desk November 18, 2023
New Bellator Welterweight Champion, Jason Jackson. New Bellator Welterweight Champion, Jason Jackson.

Jamaican Jason Jackson produced one of the most surprising Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) outcomes of the year, dethroning the previously undefeated Yaroslav Amosov to become the new Bellator welterweight champion at Bellator 301 at the WinTrust Arena in Chicago on Friday.

Jackson, nicknamed “The Ass-Kicking Machine,” made Amosov uncomfortable from the outset, applying constant pressure and defending Amosov’s takedowns brilliantly.

In the third round, Jackson dropped Amosov with a straight right hand and then put the pedal down, finally ending the bout with a nasty short uppercut as Amosov tried for a desperation takedown.

Jackson moves to 17-4 and is the seventh fighter to hold the Bellator welterweight title, while the loss was the first of Amosov’s career, moving him to 27-1 overall.

Jackson was born in Spanish Town, Jamaica on October 30, 1990. At the age of 12 he moved to South Florida, graduating from Miramar High School, where he competed on the school’s wrestling team. He began training for mixed martial arts at the age of 19.

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  • Do Jamaica's Reggae Boyz have a shot at Copa America glory? Do Jamaica's Reggae Boyz have a shot at Copa America glory?

    Jamaica warmed up for the 48th edition of the Copa America with back-to-back tame displays in their World Cup qualifiers. A slender 1-0 home win over Dominican Republic was followed up with an insipid 3-2 triumph in Dominica.

    It is back to the drawing board for Jamaica head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson, who will be chasing regional bragging rights when the leading 16 nations from the Caribbean as well as North and South America tackle the marquee tournament.

    Although his ultimate goal would be for the Reggae Boyz to lift the crown in Florida on 14 July, Jamaica need to navigate themselves out of the group phases before trying to net the top prize.

    The 2024 Copa America, hosted in the US from 20 June to 14 July, will feature 10 CONMEBOL members from South America and six invited countries from the North America and Caribbean CONCACAF region.

    All eyes will be on Argentina, the defending champions and FIFA World Cup winners, to make it a hat-trick of trophies.

    GROUP A | Argentina, Chile, Peru, Chile
    Argentina hardly ever concede goals, kick-off their campaign with a star-stunned squad that includes Angel Di Maria, the legendary Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Montiel, whose spot-kick secured the World Cup final win over France.

    Argentina beat both Chile (2-1) and Peru (2-0) in 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Yet Peru, who failed to get a shot on target in their November tie with Messi and his mates, had held Argentina to three draws on the spin before their last encounter.

    Chile, the Copa America 2016 champions Chile, have been off colour recently under veteran manager Jorge Fossati, and rely on veterans — like Alexis Sanchez and Eduardo Vargas — to add sparks.

    Canada should be better than their results suggest under recently appointed head coach Jesse Marsh, who won two caps for the US. He has a plethora of talents — like Alphonso Davies, Tajon Buchanan and Jonathan David — keen to start matches on Canada’s Copa America
    Prediction: 1st Argentina, 2nd Canada, 3rd Chile, 4th Peru

    GROUP B | Mexico, Ecuador, Venezuela, Jamaica

    Mexico went two-and-a-half matches without scoring at the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar. They brought in Jaime “Jimmy” Lozano as interim head coach for the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup, and after winning the top prize he was appointed on a permanent basis. Yet he is surprisingly shelving veterans for the Copa America, instead giving emerging talents an opportunity to showcase their silky skills.

    This appears to be a hit and miss group with Ecuador, Jamaica and Venezuela all capable of beating understrength Mexico. However, the Mexicans will benefit from vociferous support in the stadiums.

    Ecuador and Venezuela ended in a bore scoreless draw last October. Defensively-minded Ecuador have stars Moises Caicedo, Piero Hincapie and Willian Pacho. Venezuela have hit a purple patch by purring through their World Cup qualifiers.

    Jamaica still have failed to produce eye-catching displays under former Iceland head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson, despite their array of English Premier League stars. The Boyz just grind out results, although tend to make good progress in tournaments mainly thanks to reliable shotstopper Andre Blake.

    Prediction: 1st Mexico, 2nd Jamaica, 3rd Venezuela, 4th Ecuador

    GROUP C | Uruguay, USA, Bolivia, Panama

    Uruguay are a real force to be reckoned with, with stunning victories over Argentina and Brazil last year under head coach Marcelo Bielsa. Uruguay are a terrific blend of future stars and seasoned aces with names like Darwin Nunez, Luis Suarez, Manuel Ugarte and Fede Valverde enough to scare opponents.

    The US will be under pressure with high expectations from their fans on home soil. Despite being FIFA’s highest-ranked CONCACAF side, there are flaws with defensive uncertainty and an inability to find the back of the net despite having an array of striking power from the likes of Folarin Balogun, Weston McKennie, Ricardo Pepi, Christian Pulisic and Haji Wright.

    Panama, narrowly beaten by Mexico in the Gold Cup final, will kick themselves if they fail to reach the quarter-finals. They are brimming with confidence having hit a rich vein of form.

    Bolivia are the weakest South American side, with a dreadful World Cup qualifying campaign. They are unlikely to end their 11-match run of failing to win a Copa America group stage match.

    Prediction: 1st Uruguay, 2nd Panama, 3rd USA, 4th Bolivia
    GROUP D | Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay, Costa Rica

    Colombia have become a fantastic side since hiring head coach Nestor Lorenzo last year. They arrive at the Copa Amercia as the only South American nation unbeaten in World Cup qualifiers, including a 2-1 win over Brazil last year. Striker Luis Diaz can be lethal, and will be keen to better his tally of four goals at 2021 Copa America.

    Five-time World Cup winners Brazil, having tasted three World Cup qualification defeats on the bounce for their worst run since 2001 are arguably no longer the force they once were. After their 1-0 reversal to Argentina last November, their first-ever home World Cup qualifying loss, Dorival Junior was brought in as head coach. Under Junior’s tutelage they beat England and drew with Spain. Hot-shots Vinicius Junior and 17-year-old wonderkid Endrick are aiming to transform Brazil’s fortunes.

    Paraguay will be aiming to shoot down Brazil, but need a solid goalscorer. They are pretty solid defensively, and could be sensational if midfield maestro Miguel Almiron and striker Julio Enciso can replicate their silky skills seen in the English Premier League. Costa Rica face an uphill task to navigate their way to the knockout stages, and there will be big boots to fill between the sticks with iconic keeper Keylor Navas recently announcing his international retirement.

    Prediction: 1st Colombia, 2nd Brazil, 3rd Paraguay, 4th Costa Rica

     

  • “I am so happy”: Smith beaming after completing jumps double at NCAA Championships; excited for Jamaica’s future in jumps “I am so happy”: Smith beaming after completing jumps double at NCAA Championships; excited for Jamaica’s future in jumps

    Texas junior Ackelia Smith made history at the recently concluded NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships when she became the first Longhorn to ever sweep the horizontal jumps.

    Smith first defended her title in the long-jump event on Thursday at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon with a mark of 6.79 meters, becoming the first Texas woman to win back-to-back titles in 18 years.

    Two days later, the 22-year-old won the triple-jump title with a season’s best mark of 14.52m. 

    In an interview with CITIUS MAG after her win in the triple jump, Smith, who is now a three-time NCAA Champion, expressed her joy at winning the double.

    “I am so happy that I could come out there and get both of them done for my team and for myself. I was a little mopey about the long jump but I got back to the triple definitely took it out there,” she said.

    “When I got to the triple jump I just told myself ‘hey, we’re here to compete.’ I was trying to get a personal best and, even though I did not get that, I was pretty consistent with my jumps,” she added.

    In the long jump competition, half of Smith’s six attempts were fouls and her three legal jumps were the winning 6.79m, 5.21m and 6.77m.

    She had a much better and more consistent showing in the triple jump, producing four legal jumps that all cleared 14m.

    Smith says the key in the triple jump was to embrace the nervousness a bit more.

    “I re-evaluated what I did for the long jump and realized that I might’ve been a bit too comfortable so I went out there trying to be more anxious and keep that edge. That’s what pushed me through out there,” she said.

    Smith is a part of a golden generation of young Jamaican jumpers and sees a bright future for the island nation in the discipline.

    “Growing up I used to hear about Kimberly Williams then after Kimberly came Shanieka (Ricketts). I’ve been looking up to these ladies and it’s been great to see the Jamaican jumps growing, especially the triple because not many people do the triple,” she said.

    “It’s good to see actual growth and I’ve seen a lot more Jamaicans competing here at the championships. I think it’s wonderful for the future. Even on the guys side, it definitely looks good for Jamaica in the jumps,” Smith added.

    Her next goal is to make it onto Jamaica’s team to the Paris Olympics and, hopefully, find herself on the podium at those Games.

    The Jamaican trials are set for June 27-30 at the National Stadium in Kingston.

     

     

     

     

  • Hefty Colombia defeat a 'wake-up call' for USA, claims Berhalter Hefty Colombia defeat a 'wake-up call' for USA, claims Berhalter

    Gregg Berhalter shrugged off the suggestion the United States can take lessons from their 5-1 loss to Colombia, instead insisting the defeat must act as a "wake-up call".

    The USA were comprehensively dispatched by in-form Colombia at FedEx Field on Saturday, in a pre-Copa America friendly.

    The United States is hosting the 2024 Copa America, though Berhalter's team looked no match for one of South America's best sides as Jhon Arias, Rafael Santos Borre, Richard Rios, Jorge Carrascal and Luis Sinisterra got on the scoresheet in a rout, with those final three goals coming in the last 13 minutes, after Timothy Weah had pulled one back for the home side.

    Colombia became the fourth team to score five goals against the USA on American soil and the first since Mexico in 2009, while they were also the first team to score twice in the first 20 minutes against the Stars and Stripes on American soil since Saudi Arabia in October 1995 (11 minutes).

    The USA will face Uruguay, Panama and Bolivia in Group C at the Copa America, and Berhalter took few positives from the loss.

    "We're not framing it as a lesson learned. We're actually framing it as a wake-up call. Really poor performance against a top team," Berhalter said.

    "From the 75th minute on, it was I think a lack of respect for our opponent, the game of soccer and what we were doing.

    "There's some glaring things that you have to address if you're going to compete at this level. Guys just didn't do their job. It's about your role, your responsibility and we didn't do that.

    "We take responsibility as a coaching staff, for sure. We can't put this all on the players.

    "This game will help us understand that when we don't do the things we're supposed to do, we'll get hurt really quickly."

    Things do not get any easier for the USA, with a friendly against Brazil up next before the tournament starts.

    "Everyone needs to look in the mirror after that game and figure it out because, obviously, we weren't to the level that's required," goalkeeper Matt Turner told TNT Sports.

    "I'm going to apologise to the fans. That's not what we're about. And, yeah, we need to bounce back in a big way."

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