Matt Mitrione on Ryan Bader, facing Sergei Kharitonov at Bellator 215
The former New York Giant is looking to get back into the win column after being eliminated in the Heavyweight Grand Prix.
Heading into his Heavyweight Grand Prix fight against Ryan Bader, Matt Mitrione was ready for whatever the future Heavyweight Champion had to offer. It was the wrestling game of Bader that ended up being the downfall of the former New York Giant.
Now, Mitrione (13-6) is at peace with the decision, knowing what his faults were during the fight.
“Wrestling is my Achilles heel,” Mitrione told Double G Sports. “Not many fighters want to stand with me, and if they can get me to the ground that’s what they are going to do. The best advice I’ve ever been told is to dance with the girl that you brought to the dance. If that is what got me there, stick with it. I just mentally broke that into a situation that I shouldn’t have, I did a crossover and he grabbed my leg out from me. He dumped me on my head three times in a row. I believe I would fight him differently if given another chance.”
With that behind him, Mitrione moves onto Sergei Kharitonov (28-6, 1 NC), a lethal opponent in the heavyweight division. In six contests he has won five of them, including one no-contest due to an eye poke. While it took Mitrione three rounds to take down Roy Nelson, it only took Kharitonov one. A multiple-time silver medalist in boxing and a world champion kickboxer, the 38-year-old was not a part of the heavyweight Grand Prix, but his presence outside of the tournament is known.
Mitrione is not taking this opponent for granted, which he has stated would be wise for other fighters to do as well.
“Kharitonov has got some extreme power and he’s durable,” said Mitrione. “He’s like Roy (Nelson), just more technical. He’s been around the game for a long time. I believe he’s been fighting for around 18 years and he’s lost six times. He’s on a Fedor-like streak, which is incredibly impressive.”
With a win, Mitrione can potentially regain his status as a contender, even if Bader stated after the fight there was no point in a rematch. With eleven wins via knockout, Matt is looking to take out the giant that is Kharitonov.
Bellator 215 takes place inside the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut on February 15th. You can watch the event on the Paramount Network and DAZN.
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