Three months after signing with Bellator MMA, Russian heavyweight Sergei Kharitonov has a date for his promotional debut.
Bellator officials on Monday announced that Kharitonov will face Californian Josh Appelt in a three-round bout on the televised main card of Bellator 154, which takes place May 14 at SAP Center in San Jose, California. Also announced for the card was a welterweight tilt pitting Andre Fialho against Rick Reger.
On Sunday, Bellator was forced to scratch two matchups from the Spike TV-broadcast portion of Bellator 154. Lightweight Josh Thomson withdrew from his fight against Michael Chandler due to an undisclosed injury, while a tragic hit-and-run accident on Sunday left featherweight Jordan Parsons unable to compete against Adam Piccolotti.
Bellator is expected to announce two additional bouts to complete the main card.
Kharitonov, 35, will enter his Bellator debut on a five-fight winning streak which stretches back to 2012. The 6-foot-4 heavyweight has not suffered a loss in MMA since being submitted by Josh Barnett in the semifinals of Strikeforce’s 2011 heavyweight grand prix. Kharitonov last saw action in July 2015, when he stopped Kenny Garner for a second time in their rematch at M-1 Challenge 59.
Appelt, 32, has won back-to-back bouts heading into his matchup with Kharitonov. “The Juggernaut” competed four times inside the Bellator cage between 2012 and 2014, compiling a promotional record of 3-1 with one submission and one knockout. In his last outing, Appelt defeated Cesar Gracie student Roy Boughton via second-round stoppage.