Bellator 207 winner Sergei Kharitonov didn’t foresee being fastest to stop Roy Nelson

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Sergei Kharitonov was confident he could stop Roy Nelson with strikes at Bellator 207. He just didn’t see it happening as quickly as it did.

Kharitonov (28-6 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) became just the third fighter to finish the notoriously durable Nelson (23-16 MMA, 1-2 BMMA) when he emerged victorious from Friday’s heavyweight co-headliner, which took place at Mohegan Sun Arena and aired on Paramount following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Only Mark Hunt and Andrei Arlovski had previously put Nelson away inside the distance, but it took them until the second round to do so. Kharitonov did it at the 4:59 mark of the first, and he admitted that took him somewhat by surprise.

“I’m very happy that I won this fight,” Kharitonov told reporters, including MMAjunkie, post-fight through an interpreter. “I didn’t see a knockout in the first round. I didn’t think about a knockout in the first round. I thought about the second round.”

Kharitonov’s victory over Nelson was his most notable since he finished former UFC champ Arlovski under the now-defunct Strikeforce banner in February 2011. Coming into the fight, the Russian received little attention compared to Nelson, who was being touted as a potential alternate for the ongoing Bellator heavyweight grand prix.

With just one loss in his past 12 fights, though, Kharitonov, 38, should be getting some credit as an impact player in Bellator’s heavyweight division. He’s not picky about his opponents and said that he’s down to fight anyone – tournament or not.

“If Bellator put somebody (in front of me) I will fight with anybody,” Kharitonov said.

For complete coverage of Bellator 207, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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