Over the past couple years, Pride FC and Strikeforce veteran Sergei Kharitonov has quietly put together a five-fight winning streak, mirroring the days when he was one of the top-ranked heavyweights in MMA.
Looking back over his success, Kharitonov is more or less pleased with how he’s performed, but he’s eager to move on and focus on his new opportunity with Bellator.
“Obviously, I have some things I have to work on, but I’m pretty satisfied,” Kharitonov told MMAWeekly.com through his interpreter. “I’ve won against some fighters who are considered the best right now, like (Fabricio) Werdum and (Andrei) Arlovski and other guys, so I feel pretty confident.
“When I look back it’s been a great experience for me, but now that I’m here in Bellator, I’m focused on becoming a Bellator champion.”
Having been nearly five years since the Russian native Kharitonov has fought in the U.S., he is pleased to return and to get a chance to return and fight, especially as a part of Bellator.
“Bellator is one of the top organizations in the world, so I’m happy to fight for them and come back and fight in the United States,” said Kharitonov. “I think (the fans) remember me from my big wins, my big fights, and those fights made a big appetite for my career, but I’m here to make a new chapter in my career.
“All I’m thinking about right now is putting on spectacular fights. Fans remember me for having exciting fights, spectacular fights, and that’s what I want to have in Bellator.”
Kharitonov (23-5) will make his Bellator debut on May 14 in San Jose, Calif., against promotional veteran Josh Appelt (12-5) in a main card heavyweight bout.
“I think my opponent is strong, and I also think that this fight will be very well-rounded,” Kharitonov said of facing Appelt. “I don’t think we’ll just have a stand-up game or only be on the ground. I think we’re going to battle and the fans are going to see a real MMA fight.”
Having accomplished much in his career so far, Kharitonov is looking forward to challenging for a title in Bellator when the time comes. Until then, he’s going to take things one step at a time.
“My goal is to have very spectacular fights for Bellator, and if I have impressive wins, the title will come eventually. I’m sure of that,” said Kharitonov. “My main goal right now is focusing on my first opponent, have a spectacular fight and move on to the next one.”