Bellator heavyweight Sergei Kharitonov is stepping up on just over a month’s notice to face acclaimed kickboxer Tyrone Spong at Eagle FC 44.
The promotion, led by former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, is making its U.S. debut with the event, set to go down January 28, 2022 in Miami, Florida.
Kharitonov (33-9, 2NC) is the very definition of a prize fighter, competing all over the globe while still under contract with Bellator MMA. The 41-year old Russian known as “Paratrooper” (he actually was one as a member of the Russian Airborne Troops) last competed for Parus FC in Dubai, where he finished UFC veteran Fabio Maldonado. Next stop, Miami— though he’s grateful to Bellator for allowing him this opportunity.
“Currently, I’m a Bellator fighter. I’m a current Bellator fighter, but Bellator was gracious enough to let me fight with Eagle FC. They gave me permission right away,” a “very appreciative” Kharitonov told Cageside Press on Wednesday in Miami. “For now, I’m doing one fight here, and I’m honored to be the main event for the Eagle FC debut here in America.”
Tyrone Spong is a legend in the striking world, with multiple kickboxing accolades, not to mention a 14-0 record in the boxing ring. But January’s contest with Kharitonov, of course, is a mixed martial arts fight. Asked what he has to watch out for from Spong with that in mind, Kharitonov said he expects a knockout — one way or the other.
“My main focus is, I’m considered to be someone who’ll always stand and fight. Tyrone is for sure someone who stands and fights. That’s what he prefers,” Kharitonov explained. “My style of fighting, I go out every time to either knock the person out, or when trying to knock somebody out, I get myself knocked out. So this is the type of fight that all the fans should watch for. We’re just going to stand and bang. At least my plan is just stand. It’s going to be a great feather in my cap to have a knockout win against Tyrone Spong, so that’s my plan.”
Watch our full interview with Eagle FC heavyweight Sergei Kharitonov above.