Bellator 225 is going down this weekend, and it is set to be a fantastic card. It is headlined by Matt Mitrione and Sergei Kharitonov, who meet in a heavyweight showdown. In the co-main event, there is another heavyweight bout in Vitaly Minakov and Javy Ayala.
Main Event Breakdown
Ah, the rematch of a fight that was quite awkward and ended due to an accidental groin kick by Mitrione. Matt has always had the makings of a great heavyweight contender but has just failed to do so consistently over his career thus far.
Sergei Kharitonov was discharged from a local Connecticut hospital last night after getting kicked in the groin by Matt Mitrione, which resulted in a no contest, sources told ESPN. However, he experienced more pain and discomfort this morning and was re-admitted to the hospital.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) February 16, 2019
He had a strong run in the UFC, but it never panned out for him to become a true top contender. Once he reached the Bellator circuit, he looked revamped and looked like he was set to become a champion in the promotion. That was until he ran into current heavyweight champ, Ryan Bader.
Now he takes on once again, an absolute killer in Kharitonov. I enjoy this matchup as both guys have solid striking and know how to finish fights, while Matt is more of an unorthodox guy, and Sergei is quite technical.
We didn’t get to see much from the first fight, other than a groin kick that ended the fight, but I can assume that both guys will be comfortable wherever the fight takes place. I think both guys have a solid chance of winning, but Kharitonov’s experience is really speaking to me at this point.
He has gone under the heavyweight radar for quite some time, but a win over Mitrione will solidify him as a top contender in the heavyweight division.
I see both men marching forward, looking to land their shots early on. I’d like to think that this fight goes for a bit of time, but I don’t currently see that happening. I think this thing wraps up in one, and Matt Mitrione once again will face a large setback in his career.
It’s a bit of a do-or-die time for both men, which is unfortunate, but I see Kharitonov’s technique and experience carrying him through this one, scoring the first-round TKO.
Co-Main Event Breakdown
In the co-main event, we will see yet another great heavyweight fight. Vitaly Minakov meets Javy Ayala, and this is truly a huge step for Ayala in competition. Minakov has a fantastic record of 21-1, and he also carries a great, well-rounded game as well.
For Ayala, he is coming off a great win over Frank Mir. This fight to me personally, seems a bit lopsided on the experience aspect. Sure, you can argue about the bumps of Minakov’s career thus far, but the man has only suffered one loss in his career and has stacked up over 20 wins, which speaks to just how experienced he really is.
Besides the win over Frank Mir, Ayala suffered some tough losses to Cheick Kongo and Roy Nelson. Minakov has had some bad luck with his runs with Bellator, being stripped of the belt and so on, but I’ve always been high on his skillset.
Overall, I think this is a great matchup and a perfect test for both men to gauge exactly where they are at this point in their career. Overall though, I think Minakov has some pressure off of his shoulders after suffering his first loss in his pro career, and he is going to come out fresh and loose, scoring a finish in the second round.
Specifically, I think Minakov scores a 2nd round KO win and starts his journey back to the belt.