Bellator 215 takes place in Montville, Connecticut this Friday night and in the main event we are treated to a heavyweight clash between Matt Mitrione and Sergei Kharitonov.
Stylistically, how do these two Goliath’s compare and who has the advantages to get the victory?
What does Mitrione bring to the table?
Matt Mitrione is one of few men to begin his MMA career in the UFC. He is currently 40 years old with a record of 13-6. He has faced a legendary set of opponents in his time and has victories over the likes of Derrick Lewis, Fedor Emelianenko, Roy Nelson and Shawn Jordan.
If you watch any of Mitrione’s fights, it’s clear to see that he doesn’t move like a typical heavyweight. He is a black belt in Shotokan Karate and employs this bouncy, agile striking style when inside the cage. The athleticism that Matt possesses is a testament to practising Karate from a young age as well as competing professionally in the NFL.
Throughout the American’s life he has battled adversity. In many of his previous fights he has been rocked to then come back dramatically with a win. Sergei could very well clip Matt, but rocking him and actually putting him away for good are two different things.
How can Kharitonov find a way to win?
Sergei is physically quite similar to Matt. He is one inch taller in height at six foot four and is two years younger. However, if you were to compare the two in their recent fights you could assume that the Russian was the older man.
Their striking styles are quite dissimilar. Kharitonov tucks his chin in, plods forward and lights his opponents up with great kickboxing. He expends his energy wisely with no wasted movement. Whilst Matt is incredibly light on his feet and constantly moving in an out of range.
You could argue that the Russian has the grappling advantage as he is a multiple time Sambo champion. For those that are unaware, Sambo was developed by the Soviet Red Army and was designed to improve hand-to-hand combat. It’s very similar to Judo and Jiu Jitsu and it incorporates many wrestling techniques.
10 of Sergei’s 28 wins come by way of submission. He also has 16 wins by knockout. Going into Friday night’s fight, many argue that Kharitonov has more striking tools at his disposable compared to his opponent.
Where Kharitonov has been finished by strikes in the past, it has usually come by the hands of a younger, more athletic opponent. Coupled with Mitrione’s stick and move style, this could be a bad match up for the Russian.
It’s been awhile since Sergei tasted defeat. Matt is coming off of a decision loss to Ryan Bader. The American will be hungry for a victory and our analysis could suggest that he catches Kharitonov and finishes him by TKO.