Sergei Kharitonov will be the star of M-1 Global's first trip to China. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Russian MMA promotion M-1 Global has signed a 10-year agreement to promote events in China on a yearly basis.
M-1 CEO Vadim Finkelchtein on Wednesday announced the news via press release, additionally revealing that the organization’s first event will take place Nov. 11 at MasterCard Center -- formerly known as Wukesong Arena -- in Beijing. That card will be headlined by former Pride Fighting Championships and Strikeforce heavyweight Sergei Kharitonov against an opponent to be determined.
MasterCard Center is primarily a basketball arena and was built specifically with the 2008 Olympic Games in mind. According to the release, it is one of the largest venues in China and can hold up to 18,000 spectators.
“It is a big deal for M-1 and MMA to have an event in China,” Finkelchtein said. “We plan to feature some of our best heavyweight fighters, including one of the best Russian fighters, Sergei Kharitonov. I think he will represent Russia as one of the strongest countries in MMA.”
The 33-year-old Kharitonov last competed in the MMA realm in March, when he scored a second-round TKO against Tyler East at a Tech-Krep Fighting Championship event in Russia. More recently, Kharitonov fought at Glory 16 in May, losing a decision to Anderson “Braddock” Silva in the semifinals of the promotion’s one-night, heavyweight tournament.
The heavy-handed Russian owns notable triumphs over Andrei Arlovski, Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum and Pedro Rizzo during his MMA career.
“This event is very important for me,” Kharitonov stated in the release. “I am very pleased that Vadim Finkelchtein thinks I’m an elite athlete. I’m glad I got the invitation to fight, and I gladly accepted the offer.”