For the second time in as many weeks, Bellator MMA is in action this Friday night with Bellator 265 originating from Sioux Falls, SD’s Sanford Pentagon.
At capacity, the Pentagon holds 3,250 spectators, and most, if not all of, these seats should be occupied for this 10-fight MMA card, fittingly highlighted by a bout at heavyweight in the Bellator 265 main event.
No. 3 contender Cheick Kongo (30-11-2, one NC) will be making his return to the Bellator MMA cage at 46 years of age against unranked Sergei Kharitonov, (30-7, two NC) who turned 41 years old this past Wednesday in the main attraction of this show.
As with all non-title main events in Bellator, this fight will be a maximum of three rounds at five minutes per round to close the evening’s proceedings.
Bellator 265 Main Event Fighter Comparison
Heading into your main attraction, both Kongo and Kharitonov stand level in height at 6-foot-4.
Kongo has the edge in reach, however, as he holds a seven-inch reach advantage (81 inches to 74 inches) over Kharitonov in this matchup in the Bellator 265 main event.
Kongo and Kharitonov Both in Career Twilights Entering Bellator 265 Main Event
A universal storyline heading into the Bellator 265 main event is the fact that both men are in their 40s, Kongo at age 46, Kharitonov just turning 41 this week.
It’s no secret that both men are now in the twilight of their respective MMA careers and an obvious question is raised here, that how much more do they have left in the tank?
If you tune in to the show at Bellator 265, you could very well be seeing the final chapter of one of these fighter’s careers.
Kongo enters this bout at Bellator 265 having posted a 3-1 record with one NC in his last five Bellator MMA appearances, most recently having dropped a split decision against Tim Johnson last October in Kongo’s native Paris during the headliner Bellator’s 10th European Series event (also known as Bellator 248.)
That Oct. 10, 2020 card was notable as it was the first MMA show held in France by a major promotion after the country voted to legalize the sport effective on Jan. 1, 2020, in 2019.
Before Kongo dropped the split decision against Johnson last fall, he’d been on a nine-fight unbeaten streak (8-0, one NC), with the only unfavorable result for his camp being a no-contest against Ryan Bader in Sept. of 2019 during Bellator 226.
Kharitonov Returns To MMA in First Bellator Bout since Hospital Stay
Although Kharitonov has boxed since his most recent appearance in the cage, Bellator 265 marks his first MMA bout since being hospitalized last fall.
In November of 2020, right after he scored a first-round knockout against Oli Thompson in Paurus FC to run his current unbeaten streak in MMA to two matches, Kharitonov was assaulted by onetime UFC fighter Adam Yandiev, resulting in a broken nose and orbital bone.
He was hospitalized for one week over nonpayment of debt.
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
Stylistically, this fight at Bellator 265 looks to favor Cheick Kongo.
While both men are kickboxers, Sergei Kharitonov is also a boxer with an orthodox stance.
In the other corner, Kongo holds black belts in Kyokushin Karate and Kendo fighting, and a brown belt in Setia Hati Terate.
Look For Kongo’s Punches on Friday
On film, Kongo is a guy who has been known to punch his way to victory, something particularly evident in his first fight against Timothy Johnson in 2018.
That night, he was able to transition from the clinch to score a takedown and then establish the top position to score a flurry of ground and pound shots to secure the victory.
If Kongo takes down Kharitonov as little as once, this fight could be a done deal in a hurry on Friday.
Don’t Underestimate Kharitonov, Either
Sergei Kharitonov has one-punch power in his own right.
One need look no further than his most recent fight against Oli Thompson last November on an evening where he had to fight off a Thompson clinch before landing the vicious right hand to put him away for the knockout.
If Kharitonov can throw the right hand against Kongo as he did against Thompson, it could be game, set, match in lightning-quick fashion.
One constant with heavyweight fights is, say it with me, audience:
It can take as little as one punch for it to be a done deal, and both men in this heavyweight main attraction at Bellator 265 can make it happen.
One question still remains:
“Who’s going to get out to the quick start first?”
Prediction: Sergei Kharitonov by First-Round Knockout.
Featured Image Credits To Bellator MMA