Sergei Kharitonov is one of the eight fighters currently signed to compete in the Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix. Kharitonov is a veteran of combat sport and is scheduled to fight the Belarusian Andrei Arlovski February 12th in New Jersey for Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva.
Kharitonov is 17-4 in mixed martial arts and holds notable victories over Fabricio Werdum and Alistair Overeem. In fact, Kharitonov is the last man to have beaten Alistair Overeem back in September of 2007.
What makes Kharitonov's inclusion in the heavyweight Grand Prix interesting is that both Overeem and Werdum will be competing in the Grand Prix as well. Kharitonov may get his chance to avenge a loss to Werdum or pull ahead of Overeem in a best of three series.
Throughout the rest of this piece, we will be looking through some footage of Kharitonov's training as he prepares for Arlovski.
Sergei Kharitonov is a mixed martial artist, that being said he is a very high level striker in the sport of mixed martial arts.
Kharitonov is a member of Team Golden Glory in Breda, Holland, a team known for developing a stable of fighters who are strong mixed martial artists and very strong strikers at the same time. It isn't uncommon to see Golden Glory fighters like Alistair Overeem for example to compete in MMA and K1 rules kick boxing as well.
In fact Kharitonov has tested himself in the world of kick boxing and prior to his accomplishments in MMA Kharitonov had a pretty good career as an amateur boxer. Kharitonov was offered a spot on the Olympic team for Tajikistan, but turned down the offer to compete in the 2004 pride heavyweight Grand Prix.
Andrei Arlovski has been described as a fighter with some of the best boxing in mixed martial arts. In fact, Arlovski was dabbling with the idea of transitioning to professional boxing under the tutelage of famed trainer Freddie Roach. Kharitonov will have his hands full standing up against Arlovski, it seems as if both fighters have the necessary skills standing up to cancel each other out.
Andrei Arlovski has been brutally knocked out twice in his last three fights and Kharitonov has the potential to move that number up to three. Although Arlovski is primarily a stand up fighter, he just might look to get Sergei Kharitonov to the ground for this fight.
Both fighters appear to be evenly matched on the ground, Arlovski and Kharitonov both trained in Russian Sambo and both have employed the techniques learned in Sambo in MMA as well.
Although Kharitonov would probably be comfortable on the ground, one has to feel that Kharitonov would like to keep the fight standing with Arlovski. It doesn't take rocket scientist to see that Kharitonov probably wants to try to do what Fedor Emelianenko and Brett Rogers had done to Arlovski which was knock him out in round one.
That's why Kharitonov can be seen training his take down defense with Jon Olav Einemo, the 2003 ADCC Submission Wrestling World Champion and only man to defeat Roger Gracie in the ADCC tournament.
Despite the fact that Kharitonov is probably looking to keep the fight standing against Arlovski this coming February 12th, Kharitonov's ground game isn't too shabby. In fact against Arlovski, his ground game matches up pretty well.
In 21 MMA fights, Kharitonov has only lost once via submission and eight of his 17 victories in the sport have come by way of submission. There is no doubt he is more of a stand up fighter, but like most of the top MMA guys coming out of Golden Glory he works on every aspect of the game.
In any case, when you get to roll with guys who have won the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Champions, you definitely get a chance to shore up on any weaknesses in your ground game.
Kharitonov fits the profile of the Rocky IV villain Ivan Drago and delivers the "I must break you line" from the movie with a fine Russian accent. Both guys are blond haired, blue eyed and both make for intimidating heavyweights. Kharitonov certainly doesn't have the invincibility factor that Drago had, but come on wouldn't it be nice to see Kharitonov challenge "Captain America" himself Randy Couture?
All kidding aside, Kharitonov is a pretty intense character and fans may get to see a lot more of him should he go deep in the Strike Force heavyweight tournament. First and foremost he has to get past opponent Andrei Arlovski.
If I had to bet on this fight I'd bet on Kharitonov.
Both fighters are in my opinion mirror images of each other in terms of backgrounds and styles. Arlovski matches up technique wise with Kharitonov and if it weren't for one thing, I would think this fight would be a toss up.
The one thing I am talking about is Arlovski's performance after getting tagged. Arlovski hasn't won in his last three outings and he has been brutally knocked out in two of his last three fights.
Despite Arlovski's technical boxing and strong technique, Kharitonov is probably going to find a home for his fists, elbows, shins and/or knees in this fight and once that happens Arlovski is probably going to wilt. That being said, these are two technical strikers and it will probably be a pretty exciting fight to watch for the fans.
Leon Horne has been contributing to The Bleacher Report for two years now. He focuses mainly on mixed martial arts, but he has also written about tennis, football and hockey. Just send him a message if you want to talk sports or discuss any opportunities. You can follow him on Twitter for updates: