Mixed martial arts returns to Israel on Thursday with Bellator 234. Three out of the final six fights will feature Israeli fighters. The main event features a heavyweight bout between Sergei Kharitonov and Linton Vassell. Check back for Mybookie latest Bellator odds.
Bellator 234 Odds, Preview & Expert Picks
- When: Thursday, 9 PM ET (TV Tape on Friday)
- Where: Menora Mivtachim Arena, Tel Aviv, Israel
- Stream Option: DAZN
Sergei Kharitonov (29-6) vs. Linton Vassell (18-8)
The Russian is -185 for this heavyweight fight with Vassell at +155. Kharitonov has racked up six wins and two no-contests since losing to Javy Ayala at Bellator 163. That remains the only blemish in his Bellator MMA career.
Kharitonov owns victories over the likes of Roy Nelson, Andrei Arlovski, Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum. He may not have been in the Octagon, but he has faced quality opposition in promotions like Pride Fighting Championships, Dream and Strikeforce, and is in fact regarded as one of the best heavyweights outside of the UFC.
In 2011, Kharitonov entered the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, joining a field that included Fedor Emelianenko, Antonio Silva, Overeem, Werdum, Arlovski, Josh Barnett, Brett Rogers and Daniel Cormier. Kharitonov easily moved past the opening round by disposing of Arlovski via first-round knockout. In the semifinals, however, he lost to Barnett by submission.
The Russian comes off a TKO win over Matt Mitrione, a rematch after their previous meeting ended in a no contest after Mitrione landed a groin strike 15-seconds into the contest. Kharitonov is 11-1 (with two no contests) in his past 14 fights dating back to September 2011.
Kharitonov’s five-fight Bellator unbeaten streak at heavyweight is tied for the third longest active streak in the division behind Cheick Kongo (nine) and Tyrell Fortune (eight). Kharitonov has earned 27 of his 29 career victories by stoppage. That includes all three of his Bellator wins.
What about Vassell?
England’s Vassell will look to snap a three-fight losing skid. After he dropped back-to-back bouts against Ryan Bader and Phil Davis, “The Swarm” moved up to heavyweight. In his divisional debut at Bellator 218 in March, Vassell lost a unanimous decision to Valentin Moldavsky.
Vassell’s seven victories in Bellator light-heavyweight competition are tied for fourth most in divisional history behind Liam McGeary (nine), Phil Davis (eight) and Emanuel Newton (eight). Vassell’s three submission victories in Bellator light-heavyweight competition are tied with four other fighters for most in divisional history.
Roger Huerta (24-11-1) vs. Sidney Outlaw (12-3)
Outlaw is -460 for this lightweight bout and Huerta +355. Outlaw makes his Bellator return after the UFC did not sign him following a win on Dana White’s Contender Series. Sidney believes he may finish Huerta but is also prepared to go the distance if necessary. Although Huerta is a well-known opponent, Outlaw isn’t concerned with how it will affect his standing in Bellator.
“The win does nothing at all. It is supposed to be there. Whatever happens, happens. I’m just going to go out there and what I do and the outcome should remain the same,” he said. “This is just the beginning for me. I want title fights on my record. That is the only thing that matters.”
With half of Outlaw’s professional wins coming by way of submission, including five first-round finishes, the 27-year-old lightweight will be looking to make quick work of his opponent once again.
What about Huerta?
Huerta has fought in just about every organization possible, including the UFC. Huerta was originally slated to make his UFC debut against Hermes Franca at UFC 61, but was forced to withdraw from the fight as the result of an elbow injury. He won his first six fights in the UFC, the first at UFC 63 against Jason Dent, which was declared “Fight of the Night”.
After seven-and-a-half years away from the promotion, Huerta re-signed with Bellator MMA for one fight in 2018. He faced Benson Henderson in the main event at Bellator 196 on April 6, 2018. Huerta lost the bout via submission in the second round.
Last time out, in September 2018, Huerta lost by second-round KO to Patricky Friere. The second started with Huerta taking a big left hook early. He grabbed on to a leg in desperation, and while he recovered briefly, Pitbull came back and landed a right hand that dropped Huerta for good.
Huerta is 4-10 in his past 14 fights dating back to August 2008. He hasn’t earned a victory with Bellator promotion since April 2010. But with 17 of his 24 career wins coming by way of knockout or submission, the Muay Thai fighter possesses the type of fire power necessary to put an end to Outlaw’s current seven-fight winning streak.
Expert Bellator 234 Picks
Kharitonov by KO/TKO and Outlaw by decision.
Rest of the Bellator 234 Card
- Aviv Gozali vs. Zaka Fatullazade
- Haim Gozali vs. Artur Pronin
- Austin Vanderford vs. Grachik Bozinyan
- Maslis Tomer vs. David Malka
- Itay Tratner vs. Elias Mamadov
- Nisim Rozalis vs. Noam Voldman
- Itay Lipszyc vs. Itzik Vakobov
- Eli Aronov vs. Sari Hleihil
- Ben Cohen vs. Maksym Tkachuk
- Ofir Leibel vs. Mikail Dulgher
- Raz Bring vs. Naziri Daniliuk
- Kirill Medvedovsly vs. Akhmed Fararzha
- Gustavo Wurlitzer vs. Vuqar Keramov
- Simon Smotritsky vs. Illia Hladkii
- Adam Keresh vs. Vladimir Fedin
- Robson Gracie Jr. vs. Ameer Basheer
- Olga Rubin vs. Sinéad Kavanagh