PRIDE veteran Sergei Kharitonov put away the iron-chinned Roy Nelson in the first round at Bellator 207.

Sergei Kharitonov spoke with the media following his dominant performance in the co-main event of Bellator 207. The Russian MMA veteran seemingly shed ten years from his shoulders when he stopped Roy Nelson in the final seconds of the opening round. His first round finish becomes especially impressive considering the toughness and durability of Roy Nelson. To put this aspect of ‘Big Country’s’ into numerical form, the fan-favorite heavyweight had only been stopped by strikes twice in his career. First, by Andrei Arlovski, the second by Mark Hunt.

Sergei Kharitonov defeats Roy Nelson

From the start, Kharitonov landed his jab. The head of Nelson snapped back nearly every time the Russian threw the strike. As the jabs began to add up, Nelson looked to work his wrestling. Nelson closed to distance shooting for a single. Kharitonov fired his hips backward and captured the neck of Nelson.

The two then engaged in a positioning battle with Kharitonov holding a headlock and Nelson looking to scramble out while still on his feet. After a few moments with the headlock, Kharitonov fired a few knees. After tasting a few Russian knees, Nelson planted both knees to the mat. Kharitonov, still holding the head, misjudged where his opponent was and threw an illegal knee. During this moment, the Russian veteran was afraid that the fight might not continue due to the illegal strike.

“[Sergei was] a little bit afraid [that the] fight [would be] stopped but the fight was not stopped. Thank you, Roy Nelson, that you can give me this bout.”

Later he remarked that due to his positioning, he was unable to recognize Nelson had put both of his knees on the mat.

“[Sergei] didn’t see Roy Nelson have his knees on the ground. This is all by mistake.”

‘Big Country’ took the full five minute recovery period but the break served no help to him. Once the fight resumed, Kharitonov continued to work off his jab. The range of the Russian was too much. As Kharitonov landed big combinations, Nelson flurried back with winging counter hooks, most of which slid through air, missing its target.

Towards the end of the first round, Kharitonov pressured his opponent to the fence. There he beautiful work piecing together strikes. The Russian landed a variety of attacks and as the seconds drained, the output increased. Nelson did his best to fire off counter strikes while using the fence to maintain balance. Ultimately a string of uppercuts made ‘Big Country’ lose his balance and as he slowly dipped over, falling to the mat, Kharitonov launched a well-placed knee that sent Nelson tumbling unconscious to the floor.

For Kharitonov, he wishes to continue to stay active. He made it clear, he would like to return with Bellator yet he wasn’t offered anything more than the Roy Nelson fight.

“Bellator just give me two fights. I want to fight more but Bellator just give me this fight right now, right here.”


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