Bellator 215 isn’t the most stacked card in the world, but if you’re a degenerate like me then you’ll still be tuning in with a view to earn some cash. The main event is a heavyweight clash between two fighters that have been around the block: Sergei Kharitonov and Matt Mitrione. At 38 and 40-years-of-age respectively, which veteran will come out on top?

Sergei Kharitonov

From paratrooper to ice cream scooper, Kharitonov’s body has undergone significant changes over the past few years. Once a chiseled specimen of the male species, Sergei now looks like a guy that lifts weights at medium intensity and also pounds gallons of beer (I’m relating, not hating).

Of course, this is fighting not a bodybuilding competition, but the Russian veteran looks unrecognizable from his earlier career, both physically and athletically. With a background in sambo, he used to blend his boxing with high amplitude takedowns and clinch throws. These days, he seems to have forgotten how to grapple (perhaps because offensive wrestling is so cardio draining).

As we saw against Roy Nelson, Kharitonov can still box. His jab looked as crisp as ever and he’s still intelligent with picking the perfect shots to penetrate defenses. While his speed may have declined immensely, Kharitonov still has a chin – he ate a flush uppercut from Sokoudjou without reacting as well as numerous shots from Nelson.

Matt Mitrione

Even at an advanced age for a fighter, Mitrione is a great athlete. While not the most technical striker, “Meathead” is fleet footed, aggressive and powerful. He will have an edge over Kharitonov in terms of hand speed.

Defensively, Mitrione leaves himself open. His battle with British journeyman, Oli Thompson, was a blood and guts war – with both fighters swinging for the fences. Thompson’s cardio did not hold up well and you can argue Mitrione won the fight solely on athleticism.

It’s well known Mitrione doesn’t have much of a ground game, as we saw most recently against Ryan Bader. A prime version of Kharitonov would be able to exploit this, but I’m not sure the current version will.

I think Mitrione probably has the better gas tank, so forcing Kharitonov to contend at a high pace would be advantageous. I’m not sure we’ll see rounds two or three, as someone is probably getting whacked and finished within the first few minutes.

Who Wins?

This is a really tough fight to call, hence the close betting lines. Kharitonov is more technical on the feet, while Mitrione is faster and more athletic. Both fighters have taken a lot of damage in their careers and it wouldn’t surprise me if either (or both) called it quits within the next year or two. I think you should probably take a long look in the mirror before betting this main event.

This begs the question: what am I doing with my life? I used to have hope, dreams and ambitions – now I write betting predictions of sloppy heavyweight brawls under the internet pseudonym of “Pig Lord.” What a disaster.

With all the variables at play, I don’t think it’s wise to bet this. That being said, you should do as I say, not as I do, because I’m betting Kharitonov at pick ‘em odds.

Pick: Sergei Kharitonov -115

Check out my betting picks for UFC on ESPN 1 and MMA Live Betting Guide.


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