The Bellator cage lands in Tel Aviv, Israel for Bellator 234, with a pivotal heavyweight bout headlining the card, a returning veteran in search of a much-needed victory, and an Israeli father-son combination looking to follow in the footsteps of Bellator’s McKee family by securing a double celebration on fight night.
Here are our five burning questions ahead of Bellator 234:
Can ‘The Paratrooper’ drop himself into a title fight?
Sergei Kharitonov may be as little as one win away from a shot at the Bellator heavyweight title, but he needs to eliminate any lingering doubts about his status as the top contender before he’ll get his opportunity.
Kharitonov (30-7 MMA, 3-1 BMMA) is undefeated since his flash knockout at the hands of Javy Ayala back at Bellator 163 in 2018, and you have to go as far back as the summer of 2011 for his last defeat before that. In short, “The Paratrooper” has been on some solid form over the last eight years.
Standing in his way is a British powerhouse looking to make an impact in a new weight class, Linton Vassell. Two-time light heavyweight title challenger Vassell (18-8 MMA, 7-5 BMMA) has moved up a division to take advantage of his powerful frame, and while he lost out on the scorecards on his return to heavyweight, “The Swarm” looks to be in prime condition ahead of one of the toughest tests of his career.
If Vassell can take Kharitonov off his feet and work his ground and pound, the Brit could walk away with a big win and upset the heavyweight applecart. But Kharitonov knows that a shot at glory could be just one solid punch away, and you can bet he’ll be looking to connect early in a bid to score a quick KO and deliver a statement to the division.
Who will prevail – the power-punching former kickboxer, or the British former light heavyweight contender?
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