by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com
It was announced on the official Pride website this afternoon that Sergei Kharitonov will indeed be making his U.S. debut at Pride 33: The Second Coming. He was initially scheduled to face off with Gilbert Yvel, but Yvel was denied a fighter’s license by the Nevada State Athletic Commission due to his previous actions in the ring. Those actions include biting an opponent, but the main reason that Yvel was denied a fighter’s license was because of his attack on a referee in 2004.
It was then rumored that Kharitonov would take on former UFC heavyweight Paul Buentello, but those rumors turned out to be false. As of last night, various sources indicated that Kharitonov would face Ruben “Warpath” Villareal, who is known to step in to fight at the last minute, but those rumors also didn’t come to fruition either.
Kharitonov will now face unknown heavyweight Mike Russow in a heavyweight match-up. Russow is 3-0, with his last win over Steve Conkel at Bourbon Street Brawl by submission in the first round on January 27 of this year. Russow is also a former NCAA division one wrestler from Eastern Illinois University, he was ranked 5th in the nation his senior year.
Kazuhiro Nakamura has been pulled out of his fight with Travis Wiuff this weekend at Pride 33. Nakamura sustained an injury to his left knee that will prevent him from competing. Wiuff is still on the card at this point, but his opponent is unknown at the moment.