As first reported by ESPN reporter Brett Okamoto, Pride Fighting Championships veteran Sergei Kharitonov has been removed from Saturday’s Bellator 154 card due to illness.
Saturday’s clash with Josh Appelt would have marked Kharitonov’s Bellator MMA debut.
The 35-year-old signed with the promotion months ago to reunite with former Strikeforce President Scott Coker, who is now at the helm of Bellator MMA. Kharitonov (23-5) fought twice for Coker in SF, facing two former Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight champs in Andrei Arlovski and Josh Barnett. The Russian knockout artist easily disposed of Arlovski with first-round punches and was quickly submitted by Barnett with an opening-frame arm-triangle choke.