Fresh off of a brutal knockout win over Matt Mitrione in the main event of Bellator 225, veteran slugger Sergei Kharitonov is now eyeing the promotion’s heavyweight title for his next fight.
“The Paratrooper” spoke to reporters in a scrum following his second-round TKO win, and said he wants to fight the winner of the upcoming heavyweight title fight between champion Ryan Bader and challenger Cheick Kongo.
“He wants a title fight,” Kharitonov’s interpreter said when reporters asked what the heavyweight contender wants next.
Kharitonov was then asked who he thinks will win between Bader and Kongo, which takes place this September. He said he doesn’t have a prediction for the fight, but said he would happily step in for the fight in case of an injury to either fighter.
“No predictions, but if someone signs out then I’m ready to fill it,” Kharitonov’s interpreter said.
Kharitonov (29-6, 2 NC) has a 3-1, 1 NC record in the Bellator cage. He is riding an eight-fight unbeaten streak overall, and has just one loss in his last 14 fights overall, a shocking KO loss to Javy Ayala in 2017 in his Bellator debut. Since then, Kharitonov has looked incredible and appears to be in peak form.
The PRIDE veteran was asked if he believes this current version of himself is the best version of Sergei Kharitonov the MMA world has ever seen. He says it is, but his focus is solely on the title, and that’s the only thing that’s on his mind right now.
“My focus is on the title,” Kharitonov said through his interpreter. “That’s what motivates me.”
Also in the scrum, Kharitonov was asked if he wants to fight the legend Fedor Emelianenko. But Kharitonov sidestepped the question, saying he only wants to fight for the belt next.
Do you think Sergei Kharitonov has what it takes to become the new Bellator heavyweight champion?