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Matt Mitrione unraveled under Bellator MMA's bright lights when he was confronted by a surging Sergei Kharitonov in what can only be described as an egregious equipment failure.
Kharitonov blew away "The Ultimate Fighter" Season 10 quarterfinalist with a right uppercut, knee strike and follow-up hammerfists 1:24 into the second round of their Bellator 225 headliner on Saturday at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut. It served as a rematch to their ill-fated Feb. 15 meeting, which resulted in a no-contest after the Russian was kicked below the belt.
Mitrione (13-7, 4-2 Bellator) had the Pride Fighting Championships alum on his heels for much of the first round but appeared to lose focus after his mouthpiece was knocked out on multiple occasions. Referee Dan Miragliotta threatened a point deduction, and the tide slowly but surely turned in Kharitonov's favor. He sent Mitrione's mouthpiece flying again early in Round 2, stung the 41-year-old with a right uppercut and floored him with a knee to the face. Kharitonov (29-6, 3-1 Bellator) trailed his turtled opponent to the mat and closed the deal with a series of standing hammerfists.
In the heavyweight co-main event, former Bellator champion Vitaly Minakov cut down Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Timothy Johnson with first-round punches. Johnson (12-6, 0-2 Bellator) succumbed to blows 1:45 into Round 1 and remained winless in two starts with the Scott Coker-led organization.
Minakov (22-1, 6-1 Bellator) set the tone with an early suplex but did his heavy lifting in the standup exchanges. He followed a front kick to the body with a short right cross that stunned Johnson and sent him stumbling backward. Minakov pressed him to the cage, dropped his dazed counterpart to his knees with a glancing blow behind the ear and then polished off the slumped Johnson with unabated hooks from each hand.
It was Minakov's 14th first-round finish as a pro.
Meanwhile, Combat Training Club export Alejandra Lara rebounded from back-to-back defeats to Ilima-Lei Macfarlane and Juliana Velasquez, as she took care of Taylor Turner with punches in the first round of their featured women's bantamweight clash. Turner (3-6, 1-1 Bellator) bowed out 3:44 into Round 1.
Lara (8-3, 2-2 Bellator) twice tripped the Knoxville Martial Arts Academy rep to the mat, went to work from half guard and applied heavy ground-and-pound. She then capitalized on an ill-advised leg lock attempt from Turner, climbed to mount and attached herself to the back. From there, the Colombian dropped sweeping punches with both hands and prompted referee John English to act.
The setback snapped Turner's modest two-fight winning streak.
Elsewhere, former Tech-Krep Fighting Championship titleholder Yaroslav Amosov subdued David Rickels with a brabo choke in the second round of their catchweight feature at 175 pounds. Rickels (21-6, 15-6 Bellator), who had never before been submitted, tapped 4:05 into Round 2.
Amosov (22-0, 3-0 Bellator) controlled virtually every second of the fight. The fast-rising Ukrainian star buckled Rickels with a left hook inside the first minute, executed a takedown and battered him with punches and elbows from top position in a sustained burst of ground-and-pound. Amosov took down "The Caveman" again at the start of the second round, settled in half guard and locked in the choke.
The 25-year-old Amosov now sports 18 finishes among his 22 career victories.
Finally, Arizona Combat Sports prospect Tyrell Fortune kept his perfect professional record intact, as he submitted Rudy Schaffroth with a rear-naked choke in the second round of their heavyweight showcase. Schaffroth (6-1, 2-1 Bellator) conceded defeat 2:08 into Round 2.
Fortune (7-0, 7-0 Bellator) wore down the King of the Cage vet with steady movement and a series of devastating inside leg kicks. Schaffroth, who had not fought beyond the first round in any of his six previous outings, grew weary and was little more than a sitting duck by the start of the middle stanza. Fortune swept him off his feet with another leg kick, clipped him with a right hook and swarmed with punches, ultimately advancing to full mount before sliding to the back. More punches followed, and soon after, Fortune's arms were wrapped around his counterpart's neck.
The submission was the first of Fortune's seven-fight career.
In other action, Nick Newell (16-2, 1-0 Bellator) submitted Corey Browning (4-2, 2-1 Bellator) with an arm-triangle choke 3:15 into the first round of their lightweight affair; Connor Dixon (1-0, 1-0 Bellator) dismissed Kastriot Xhema (3-4, 3-4 Bellator) with an armbar 2:08 into the third round of their catchweight contest at 165 pounds; Jon Manley (10-5, 1-0 Bellator) submitted Thiago Rela (10-8, 0-1 Bellator) with a rear-naked choke 4:47 into the third round of their catchweight tussle at 175 pounds; Chris Disonell (2-2, 1-0 Bellator) took out Mike Kimbel (3-2, 3-2 Bellator) with punches 4:54 into the first round of their catchweight scrap at 140 pounds; Ricky Bandejas (12-3, 2-2 Bellator) disposed of Ahmet Kayretli (9-4, 0-1 Bellator) with punches 1:21 into the first round of their bantamweight match; Austin Vanderford (8-0, 2-0 Bellator) forced a cut-induced doctor stoppage on Joseph Creer (5-1-1, 1-1 Bellator) in between the second and third rounds of their middleweight pairing; Sabah Homasi (13-8, 2-2 Bellator) knocked out Micah Terrill (13-8, 0-1 Bellator) with a right hook 17 seconds into the first round of their welterweight confrontation; Aviv Gozali (3-0, 3-0 Bellator) tapped Eduard Muravitskiy (7-9, 0-1 Bellator) with a heel hook 11 seconds into the first round of their catchweight clash at 165 pounds; and Khonry Gracie (2-1, 2-1 Bellator) submitted Oscar Vera (0-2, 0-2 Bellator) with an armbar 2:50 into the first round of their welterweight tilt.