Bellator 265: Kongo vs. Kharitonov Preview

A heavyweight contest is to headline Bellator’s next installment as Cheick Kongo takes on Sergei Kharitonov in the Bellator 265 main event. Adam Borics looks to keep his win-streak alive when he squares off with undefeated Jay Jay Wilson in the co-main event.

Sergei Kharitonov, at 40-years old, is still knocking people dead. From his 32 wins, 21 of those victories have come by way of knockout. A fighter loses many of his attributes as time marches on, power is not one and the Russian heavyweight is solid proof of that. In recent times “The Paratrooper” has been successful in not just MMA, but also in the world of boxing. Kharitonov picked up his last win in Bellator over Matt Mitrione back in 2019, three months after he was stopped by Linton Vassell by second round TKO.

Kharitonov dusted himself off and got a couple on wins on the regional scene in MMA and picked up a couple of boxing wins along the way too. That will breath an air on confidence into the former Pride FC and UFC veteran. This is the heavyweight division and one slip-up could mean an early night, Kharitonov will need to be wary of the threat that his opponent processes with his fight ending power.

Cheick Kongo is 46-years old and it’s amazing that he is still fighting at the highest level. He has amassed a record of 12-3 since joining up with Bellator in 2013 with five of those wins coming by stoppage. The Frenchman went on a 8-fight unbeaten streak that ran for almost five years. He got his much deserved title shot against Ryan Bader but that fight ended abruptly due to an accidental eye poke and Kongo’s world title dream would have to go on hold. More disappointment followed in his last outing as Kongo was beaten by Tim Johnson in what was a very close and uneventful fight. The former UFC heavyweight has his chance to put himself right back into the title conversation with a win over his Russian counterpart. In all honesty, I cant see this main event being all that exciting. Kharitonov will like start strong, but as the fight goes on and if he can’t get the finish early, i feel that Kongo will pick up an easy decision win.

If the main event doesn’t get your juices flowing, well that is forgivable, but the co-main event certainly should. New Zealand born Jay Jay Wilson is undefeated in his professional career. Seven of those wins have come under the Bellator banner. His last win over former title challenger and SBG standout Pedro Carvalho put the 145-pound division on notice. Only Ty-wan Claxton has managed to bring Wilson to the scorecards in what was a close split decision. The New Zealander will come up against yet another stern test when he takes on the Hungarian born Adam Borics.

Borics was an undefeated prospect making his Bellator debut in 2017 and quickly progressed through the 145-pound division. He first five bouts for the promotion were all finishes with standout performances over Aaron Pico and Pat Curran. The win over Curran was one that advanced Boric into the Featherweight Grand Prix QF with Darrion Caldwell standing in his way. “The Kid” would taste defeat for the first time when former 135-pound champion Caldwell locked in a rear-naked choke in the very first round.

In what was a bitterly disappointing defeat for Borics, he dusted himself off and got right back into the mix. Recent wins over Mike Hamel, Erick Sánchez and Jeremy Kennedy has set this fight up with Jay Jay Wilson perfectly. One would think that the winner of this co-main event would surely get the next crack at AJ McKee’s title. Wilson may need one more win in the matchmakers eyes but Borics would almost become undeniable if he were to get his hands raised. The is a top notch fight between two high level guys and I would suggest tuning into this fight for sure.

Another hot prospect, Logan Storley, also competes on the main card when he faces off with Dante Schiro in the welterweight division. Storley is a four time NCAA Division I All-American and has only tasted defeat by the hands of current 170 pound champion Yaroslav Amosov. That defeat came in Storley’s last outing and he will be keen to get back into the win column when makes the walk on Friday night. His opponent, Dante Schiro, will be making his Bellator debut and comes into this fight on a two-fight win streak.

Two heavyweights will also make their Bellator debuts on the main card when Billy Swanson squares off with Marcelo Golm. Opening up the main card section is a catchweight bout between Keith Lee and undefeated Jornel Lugo. Lee is the brother of UFC welterweight/lightweight Kevin Lee was defeated in his last encounter with Raufeon Stots, Lugo picked up a unanimous decision win over Cass Bell in his last trip to the cage.

The main card will be shown on Virgin Media in Ireland, on the BBC iPlayer in the UK and on Showtime Sports in the US. If the event is not available in your location, you can catch the entire event on YouTube. Check out the official card and start times below.

Main Card (Showtime/YouTube/Virgin Media)

Heavyweight: Sergei Kharitonov (32-8) vs. Cheick Kongo (30-11-2)

Featherweight: Adam Borics (17-1) vs. Jay Jay Wilson (8-0)

Welterweight: Logan Storley (11-1) vs. Dante Schiro (8-2)

Heavyweight: Billy Swanson (4-1) vs. Marcelo Golm (8-3)

Catchweight 140 lb: Keith Lee (7-4) vs. Jornel Lugo (6-0)

Preliminary Card (Youtube)

Middleweight: Taylor Johnson (7-2) vs. Fabio Aguiar (17-2)

Lightweight: Mike Hamel (7-5) vs. Bryce Logan (12-5)

Welterweight: Archie Colgan (2-0) vs. Deven Fisher (4-8)

Middleweight: Duane Johnson (5-2) vs. Deven Fisher (4-8)

Heavyweight: Bailey Schoenfelder (1-0) vs. Kevin Childs (1-1)

Middleweight: Jeff Nielsen (0-0) vs. Kory Moegenburg (1-2)

Ian O'Neill is the host of the SevereMMA UFC Preview show and one of the co-hosts of The Auld Triangle - Irish MMA podcast. You can find more of Ian's work on the SevereMMA Patreon where he co-hosts The Chasing Pack and The Contender. Follow him on Twitter and on Instagram @ioneillmma

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