Bellator 225 is set to go down at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut, on Saturday, August 24. The event will be headlined by a rematch between a couple of heavy hitters in Matt Mitrione (13-6) and Sergei Kharitonov (29-7). Our co-main event will feature the former Bellator heavyweight champion Vitaly Minakov (21-1) squaring off with Javy Ayala (11-7).
Read on for a deeper dive into our feature matchups and more.
Bellator 225 Fight Card
Main Card (Paramount, DAZN – 9 pm ET)
- Matt Mitrione vs. Sergei Kharitonov
- Vitaly Minakov vs. Javy Ayala
- Alejandra Lara vs. Taylor Turner
- Tyrell Fortune vs. Rudy Schaffroth
- David Rickels vs. Yaroslav Amosov
Prelims (DAZN, 5:45 pm ET)
- Kastriot Xhema vs. Rodolfo Rocha
- Corey Browning vs. Nick Newell
- Austin Vanderford vs. Joseph Creer
- Sabah Homasi vs. Micah Terrill
- Mike Kimbel vs. Chris Disonell
- Grant Neal vs. Alpha Toure
- Khonry Gracie vs. Oscar Vera
- Ricky Bandejas vs. Ahmet Kayretli
- Timothy Johnson vs. Azunna Anyanwu
- Aviv Gozali vs. Eduard Muravitsky
- Jon Manley vs. Thiago Rela
Matt Mitrione vs. Sergei Kharitonov
Matt Mitrione first met Sergei Kharitonov at Bellator 215 in February. The heavyweight scrap would end anticlimactically after a misguided kick from Mitrione landed square on the cup of Kharitonov. The low blow came just 15 seconds into the first round and was so severe that Kharitonov could not continue and the bout was ruled a no contest.
That night was the last time either man stepped into the cage.
Mitrione will look to get back into the win column this Friday. His last outing before the first Kharitonov fight saw him lose a unanimous decision to Ryan Bader in the finals of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix. The loss to Bader snapped a four-fight winning streak during which the former NFL player stopped the likes of Oli Thompson, Fedor Emelianenko, and took a decision over Roy Nelson.
Kharitonov is widely considered one of the best heavyweights to never find his way to the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The Russian first rose to prominence in PRIDE and then competed in Strikeforce, DREAM, M-1 and other organizations globally. Throughout his storied career, Kharitonov has picked up victories over Fabricio Werdum, Alistair Overeem, Andrei Arlovski, Tatsuya Mizuno, and Pedro Rizzo. Kharitonov is 5-0-2 in his last seven and will be on the shortlist for title-contention should he be able to get past “Meathead” this Friday.
Vitaly Minakov vs. Javy Ayala
Javy Ayala has had highs and lows since joining Bellator. Though Ayala signed with the promotion in 2013, he didn’t pop up on most people’s radar until 2016. It was then that Ayala spoiled Sergei Kharitonov’s Bellator debut by knocking out “The Paratrooper” in the first round. After the shocking upset, Ayala lost to Roy Nelson and Cheick Kongo and bounced back last December by stopping Frank Mir via strikes in the second round.
Vitaly Minakov was once the defending Bellator champion but a contract dispute led to the Sambo gold medalist to spending his time competing in Fight Nights Global in Russia. During his time away from Bellator, Minakov went 7-0 and finished every opponent put in front of him. Earlier this year, with the contract issue resolved, Minakov returned to action in the Bellator cage. His first fight back with the promotion was a rematch with Kongo—a man he had defended his belt against five years prior. The second meeting would prove different and saw Kongo hand Minakov his first loss and snap the former champion’s 20-fight winning streak.
Also on the main card
The main card of Bellator 225 also features the heavy-handed Rudy Scaffroth (6-0) taking on NCAA Division II powerhouse Tyrell Fortune (6-0).
Yaroslav Amosov (21-0) will look to keep his absurd undefeated record intact when he meets David Rickels (21-5) in the opening bout of the night.
And in women’s flyweight action, Alejandra Lara (7-3) will attempt to snap a two-fight losing streak when she takes on the surging Taylor Turner (4-5). Despite Turner’s losing record, she is on a three-fight win streak with three first-round finishes.
Brandon is a long-time fan of combat sports who has covered them for various outlets since 2017.