Matt Mitrione is ready for his Bellator 225 rematch with Sergei Kharitonov.
Six months after the duo met in Uncasville, Connecticut, at Bellator 215, Mitrione (13-6, 1 no-contest) and Kharitonov (28-6, 2 no-contests) get set for a rematch that will hopefully bring some clarity between the two. In the first matchup, Mitrione hit Kharitonov with an accidental low blow just 15 seconds into the opening round. Kharitonov was unable to continue fighting, and the contest resulted in a no-contest.
Despite the familiarity of the opponent, Mitrione is not tired of thinking about Kharitonov.
“I did the same thing with Fedor,” Mitrione told MMASucka.com. “I had kidney stones the first time. I’m a professional, it’s my job. They say this is who you’re going to work with, I say okay. It’s a job.”
Mitrione returns to Connecticut for the rematch, a state in which he has had success in the past. Outside of the Kharitonov no-contest, Mitrione is 2-1 when fighting in the Constitution State; Mitrione owns knockout victories over Fedor Emelianenko and Derrick Lewis and suffered a unanimous decision loss to Ryan Bader in the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix semifinals.
Matt Mitrione is ready for take two with Sergei Kharitonov
Now that he’s not fighting in a casino in the state of Connecticut, Mitrione has gotten to get out and see more of the state.
“I’ve only fought on the inside of casinos, so I don’t really know a whole lot about the state at all,” Mitrione said. “I’m glad we get out of the casino because we can actually get out and go see places. We get to understand the community a little bit more. Most of the time when we go somewhere to fight, we get to dip into the culture. In the casinos, we don’t really get to do that.”
When he squares off against Kharitonov inside the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut, he’ll once again be facing one of the best heavyweights in the game. Kharitonov has fought a who’s who of the heavyweight division and has been in the game for nearly 20 years. If Mitrione can get the win, he knows how impressive that scalp would look on his resume.
“Sergei is legit,” Mitrione said. “He’s pretty much widely regarded as the second-best to come out of Russia. He’s tough and durable, and arguably the second, third, or fourth-best heavyweight in the entire division. One of the best in the world still. I mean, it’s good. Beating him will be a really big accomplishment in my life, for sure.”
With Mitrione’s one loss in Bellator to current heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader, he figures a victory over Kharitonov puts him next in line for a title shot.
“I don’t see how there is a conversation I wouldn’t be next in line (if I beat him),” Mitrione said.