Looking like a true heavyweight, Linton Vassell earned his first win in Bellator’s 265lb division at Bellator 234, stopping the always dangerous Sergei Kharitonov in the second round.
Former light heavyweight contender Linton Vassell was back in action at Bellator 234 in Tel Aviv, Israel. After coming up short in his heavyweight debut for the promotion, ‘The Swarm’ had a tough test in front of him in the form of hulking Russian pugilist Sergei Kharitonov. The pairing served as the main event for the show, which went down Thursday but aired Friday on Paramount Network.
Vassell was in need of a win, after dropping three straight in advance of his second heavyweight outing in the promotion. When the action got underway, he was on the outside, showing some respect for the power of the hard-hitting Kharitonov. The Russian went to the body, or tried to early, coming up short. Vassell employed a leg kick and jab, quite effectively. Kharitonov’s own jab was working, and Vassell circled. He closed the distance, looking for a takedown, putting Kharitonov on his knees briefly. However Vassell nearly wound up on the bottom, before controlling the back and landing a nasty elbow to the side of the Russian’s head. Vassell then looked to land punches as Kharitonov covered up, though he landed to the back of the head at least once, drawing a warning from the ref.
Vassell continued to control his opponent on the ground, landing a bit of ground n’ pound, and connecting with several knees to Kharitonov’s thigh. Vassell finish the round on the back, landing punches and elbows.
In the second, the pair opened trading jabs, with Vassell soon doubling up on his. He then used a straight left to set up a takedown, landing in half-guard. Vassell began landing some slicing elbows, while Kharitonov tried to roll and scramble, with no luck. He then gave up his back trying to escape, which resulted in Vassell landing several more punches. Vassell then flattened him out momentarily. Punches to the side of the head continued, while Kharitonov was warned for holding his opponent’s glove. With the ref breaking his hold, Kharitonov then began covering up, a number of unanswered strikes landing before the ref called it off!
“I think that just spoke for itself,” Vassell said of his performance following the bout. “He was probably the number one contender if he wold have won that fight.” Vassell is gunning for heavyweight champ Ryan Bader, though he recognized he’d need another fight or two first.
Official Result: Linton Vassell def. Sergei Kharitonov by TKO, Round 2, 3:15