Bigfoot Out, Sergei Kharitonov In Against Tyrone Spong at Eagle FC 44

Sergei Kharitonov
Sergei Kharitonov, Bellator 265 Credit: Bellator MMA

Mercifully, the MMA gods have for once heard our prayers, as Bigfoot Silva has withdrawn from an obvious mismatch atop the Eagle FC 44 card early next year.

Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva’s involvement on the card raised eyebrows the moment it was announced earlier this month. Paired up against decorated kickboxer Tyrone Spong, it felt like a bad night at the office was awaiting Bigfoot. That’s thanks to the hulking Brazilian posting a 1-9, 1NC record in MMA since 2013 — not to mention losing bouts in bare knuckle boxing and kickboxing as well.

Spong, meanwhile, ran up a record of 14-0 in the boxing ring during that same span. As the main event of Eage FC 44, the promotion’s North American debut, the booking was a questionable one. With Bigfoot’s withdrawal, however, a more suitable opponent has been found: Bellator MMA, Strikeforce, and PRIDE standout Sergei Kharitonov.

Kharitonov (33-9, 2NC) is a tough night at the office for any heavyweight. A longtime veteran of the sport, he’s coming off a win over Fabio Maldonado (who, for the record, seems game to fight just about anyone at this point). Prior to that, he fell via submission to Cheick Kongo this past August at Bellator 265.

ESPN was first to report news of the opponent change. Eagle FC has caught the eye of western fight fans thanks to the involvement of Khabib Nurmagomedov, the former UFC lightweight champion. Nurmagomedov took control of the promotion in 2020; the outfit was formerly known as Gorilla Fighting Championship. Rizvan Magomedov, Pressident of Dominance MMA Russia, who helped manage Nurmagomedov’s fighting career, serves as CEO of Eagle FC.

Eagle FC 44 takes place January 28, 2022 in Miami, FL. In addition to Sergei Kharitonov vs. Tyrone Spong, former UFC champions Rashad Evans and Renan Barao are also expected to compete at the event.