Bellator MMA announced the signing of heavyweight Sergei Kharitonov just days after landing prized free agent Benson Henderson.
Under the watchful eye of Scott Coker, the Bellator roster has picked up the likes of Kharitonov, Henderson, Phil Davis, Josh Thomson and Josh Koscheck.
Kharitonov, who remains in active duty with the Russian Airborne Troops, is a former Strikeforce fighter who competed in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.
Below is the complete press release from Bellator:
Sergei Kharitonov (23-5) is the newest free agent by Bellator MMA, with the news that the Russian heavyweight has been signed to an exclusive multi-year, multi-fight contract. A veteran of both Strikeforce and Pride Fighting Championships, Kharitonov remains on active duty with the Russian Airborne Troops.
Doubling as a kickboxer at different points throughout his combat sports career, “The Paratrooper” has decided to parlay his recent five-fight winning streak and focus purely on mixed martial arts. Kharitonov’s resume is extensive, with the 35-year-old scoring wins against some of the sport’s most notable names including UFC Heavyweight Champion Fabricio Werdum, Andrei Arlovski, Pedro Rizzo, Murilo “Ninja” Rua, and Alistair Overeem.
“I have had the best seat in the house for some of Kharitonov’s heavyweight outings,” Bellator MMA President Scott Coker said, “and I know Sergei can come in and make an immediate impact on our heavyweight division. He is an extremely skilled and experienced fighter who can end a fight in the blink of an eye, and we look forward to having him do just that inside the Bellator cage. Plus, he’s already competed at one ‘Dynamite’ event before, maybe he could do so again in the future!”
Kharitonov joins a division that is currently championed by fellow Russian fighter Vitaly Minakov, other top names include Bobby Lashley, Cheick Kongo, Vinicius Queiroz, Kimbo Slice, Tony Johnson, Justin Wren, Dan Charles, and James Thompson.