Looking back over his two fights in 2019, heavyweight Tyrell Fortune is very pleased with how his bouts have turned out. He's on the cusp of entering title talk, but he's in no rush to take home the Bellator belt.
First against Ryan Pokryfky in February, then versus Rudy Schaffroth in August, both for Bellator, Fortune was able to showcase different aspects of his game and pick up finishes, extending his career-starting winning streak to seven in a row.
“(The fight versus Pokryfky) was a good fight to showcase what I had been working on; my hands; I wasn’t going to the ground and doing anything, I was trying to knock him out,” Fortune told MMAWeekly.com. “It happened a little faster than I thought.
“(Against Schaffroth) I knew this was a win he really wanted, so I felt this was the first fight where I had somebody who really wanted to fight me. I think in that fight I showed a little bit more composure. I felt a lot more comfortable when I got in the cage. I didn’t have any nerves. The fight went exactly how I predicted.”
Considering the actual time that Fortune has been able to put into training and fighting over the three year span since he turned pro, he feels like he’s made good progress in his game, but still has a ways to go.
“I feel really good about my progression so far,” said Fortune. “I think a lot of people don’t think that I’ve been a fighter for three years but I’ve only been fighting for two. After my third fight, I had a whole year off because I had to go through two surgeries.
“I think I have a lot more potential and a lot more room to grow and develop. To be doing what I’m doing right now with the time I’ve put in is really motivating.”
This Friday in Thackerville, Okla., Fortune (7-0) will look to remain undefeated when he takes on Azunna Anyanwu (15-5) in a main card heavyweight bout at Bellator 233.
“I just have to be smart,” Fortune said. “(Anyanwu’s) obviously a veteran fighter. He’s been in some wars and some battles where he’s had to overcome some things. So I have to take my time, wear him down, beat him down and knock him out.
“He’s shown in his fights that he’s able to take a beating, so I can’t be trying to rush in, because he’s looking to counter with a big shot. We have to look for counters. I have to be aware of that and have to be smart on how I go about trying to punish him.”
Having gone from prospect to established talent over the past three years, the next step for Fortune could be as a title contender. It’s a move Fortune is looking to, but is not going to rush to get to.
“I don’t mind taking my time getting my way to the belt,” said Fortune. “There’s no rush for me.
“I’m only seven fights in and I’ve only been competing for two years. I’m in no rush, but if I beat up the right people it puts me in that conversation and I’ll definitely take that opportunity, but there’s no need in my mind to rush.”