Bellator MMA returns to action at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut for Bellator 225.
The main event of Bellator 225 takes place in the heavyweight division where Matt Mitrione takes on Sergei Kharitonov for the second time. Their first encounter ended in a no-contest due to an accidental kick to the groin from Mitrione fifteen seconds into the fight.
Mitrione won his first four fights under the Bellator banner until finally losing to Ryan Bader at Bellator 207. The former UFC veteran has eleven finishes in his thirteen career victories. This will be the forty-one-year old’s twenty-first professional fight.
Prior to the first Mitrione fight, Sergei Kharitonov had won five of his previous six fights. His most recent victory was at Bellator 207 where he finished Roy Nelson in the first round. Of the Russian born fighter’s twenty-eight wins, only two went the distance. At thirty-nine years of age, Kharitonov will make the walk for the thirty-seventh time on Saturday night.
In the co-main former Bellator heavyweight champion Vitaly Minakov takes on Javy Ayala. Minakov won his first twenty-one fights as a pro with most of the bouts taking place in his home country of Russia. His first loss came at his most recent fight which occurred at Bellator 216 where he dropped a unanimous decision to Cheick Kongo. All but two of his wins ended inside the distance. This will the thirty-four-year old’s twenty-third professional fight.
Thirty-one-year-old Javy Ayala is 1-2 over his previous three. His most recent fight was at Bellator 212 where he finished forty-year old Frank Mir in the second round. Ten of his eleven career victories ended inside the distance. He’s also been stopped in five of his seven losses. Ayala will make the walk for the nineteenth time when he steps into the cage opposite Minakov on Saturday.
The third fight on the main card features two undefeated heavyweights when Tyrell Fortune goes up against Rudy Schaffroth. Fortune’s most recent victory was at Bellator 216 where he stopped Ryan Pokryfky in the first round. Four of the twenty-nine-year old’s six fights ended inside the distance.
This will be Rudy Schaffroth’s third fight for the promotion. His most recent win occurred at Bellator 210 where he knocked out Vernon Lewis in the first round. Schaffroth has yet to go the distance as a pro. He has five wins via (T)KO and one submission in his six victories.
The main card also includes David Rickels taking on Yaroslav Amosov and Alejandra Lara vs. Taylor Turner.
Bellator 225 broadcast information
The prelims will stream on DAZN and the Bellator mobile app beginning at 4:45 PM (CST). The main card will air on Paramount network and stream on DAZN starting at 8:00 PM (CST).
Note: The predictions in this column do not necessarily mean that I will be betting them. I have changed my mind in the past and gone the other way after conducting more research. For all my official bets follow me on Twitter @MichaelGrocke.
Bellator 225 Main Card
Matt Mitrione (13-6, 1 NC) vs. Sergei Kharitonov (28-6, 2 NC) – Heavyweight 265 lbs.
Current Odds: Kharitonov -125; Mitrione -105
Pick: Mitrione by (T)KO, but with little confidence.
We’ve seen the odds on this one flip. Mitrione was at one point a -140 favorite. Money has been pouring in on the Russian, and Kharitonov is now the betting favorite.
Both fighters like to stand and trade. They both possess knockout power, but Kharitonov is more technical. Mitrione is younger with more speed. This one will come down to which fighter lands the big punch first. I’m going to go with the younger fighter, but I’m steering clear of this one from a betting perspective.
Vitaly Minakov (21-1) vs. Javy Ayala (11-7) – Heavyweight 265 lbs.
Current Odds: Minakov -630; Ayala +420
Pick: Minakov by (T)KO.
Minakov is better than Ayala with more paths to victory. The only question I have is which round does Minakov get the finish. Unfortunately, there are no props posted at this time.
Tyrell Fortune (6-0) vs. Rudy Schaffroth (6-0, 1 NC) – Heavyweight 265 lbs.
Current Odds: Fortune -630; Schaffroth +420
Pick: Fortune by (T)KO.
Fortune has great wrestling and his striking is improving. Schaffroth is big with a ton of power so if he clips Fortune it could be lights out for him. Fortune’s pace, speed and wrestling will be too much for the big heavyweight leading to a late round finish.
David Rickels (21-5, 2 NC) vs. Yaroslav Amosov (21-0) – Catchweight 175 lbs.
Current Odds: Amosov -375; Rickels +275
Pick: Amosov by decision.
Amosov is a well-rounded fighter with very good technical striking skills. I’m interested to see how this one plays out. Amosov has excellent submissions, but Rickels has never been subbed in his career. You know when Rickels gets into the cage, he comes to fight. There is no quit in him. However, he doesn’t possess the best fight IQ and against a fighter with the skill set of Amosov that can be a problem.
Alejandra Lara (7-3) vs. Taylor Turner (3-5) – Bantamweight 135 lbs.
Current Odds: Lara -1300; Turner +700
Pick: Lara by decision.
Lara has good striking and Turner is very hittable. Lara’s ground game is average, but Turner is below average everywhere with a weaker resume. Lara is the much better athlete with more skills so it should be all Alejandra here. Expect the Bellator hype train to get fully behind Alejandra Lana after this win.
Bellator 225Prelims Quick Picks
Johnson over Anyanwu
Vanderford over Creer
Newell over Browning
Homasi over Terrill
Xhema over Dixon
Neal over Toure
Kimbel over Disonell
Bandejas over Kayretli
Gracie over Vera
Gozali over Muravitsky
Manly over Rela
Enjoy the fights!