Bellator 265: Kongo vs. Kharitonov Preview

Heavyweights Cheick Kongo and Sergei Kharitonov will headline Bellator’s card on Friday night. (Lucas Noonan / BELLATOR MMA)

Veteran heavyweights Cheick Kongo and Sergei Kharitonov will be the focus on Friday evening when they will headline a Bellator card from the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA.

The fight sits atop a nine-bout card that includes four matchups airing on Showtime. Here’s a preview of what’s to come.

Click here to skip to a preview of the main card.

Preliminary Card (6:25PM EDT / 5:25PM CDT) (Youtube)

Bout 1: Kory Moegenburg (1-2) vs. Bailey Schoenfelder (1-0) (Catchweight 225 lbs)

In a matchup that was made in the 11th hour for this card, Kory Moegenburg will face Bailey Schoenfelder.

Moegenburg was originally booked to meet Jeff Nielsen at middleweight on Friday, and Schoenfelder was scheduled to fight at heavyweight. After both of their original bookings fell through, they have been paired at a catchweight of 225-pounds.

Moegenburg came in quite light for the fight, as expected for someone who was first booked to meet a 185-pound limit. Weighing in at 214-pounds, he’s set to fight Schoenfelder, who is 224-pounds.

Moegenburg has a negative pro record of one win and two losses from 2016 to 2019.

Schoenfelder won his pro debut earlier this year, stopping James Munoz in just 20 seconds with strikes at an LFA card.

Bout 2: Duane Johnson (5-2) vs. Deven Fisher (4-8) (Middleweight)

Middleweights Duane Johnson and Deven Fisher will compete on Friday’s prelims.

Johnson snapped a two-fight losing streak in his last outing, stopping Raymond Gray in just 30 seconds at a DCS show. His appearance on Friday will be his first for Bellator.

Fisher enters Friday night with a negative pro record of four wins and eight losses. He last competed all the way back in 2017, losing to now-UFC fighter Deron Winn.

Bout 3: Archie Colgan (2-0) vs. Ben Simons (3-2) (Welterweight)

Rising welterweight prospect Archie Colgan will make his Bellator debut on Friday against Ben Simons.

Colgan, still a fighter in his rookie year as a pro, has scored two stoppage victories in LFA. He won his debut in March against Andrew Claborn, taking him out in the third round with strikes.

He then returned in May to submit Keith Phathaem within a round with an arm triangle choke.

He now faces Simons, who is making his return to the cage after nearly three years out of competition. He bounced back from two consecutive losses in his last fight, defeating Keyes Nelson.

Bout 4: Mike Hamel (7-5) vs. Bryce Logan (12-5) (Lightweight)

Still fighting for their first Bellator victory, Mike Hamel and Bryce Logan will collide on Friday night.

Hamel has appeared twice in Bellator over the past year. He has been paired up against high-level talent Adam Borics and Usman Nurmagomedov, losing to both on scorecards. His matchup this weekend is a much closer one on paper.

Logan made his return to Bellator late last year, losing to gatekeeper Georgi Karakhanyan via decision. He was coming back to the promotion after a four-fight run on the regional scene that saw him earn the LFA Lightweight Championship.

Bout 5: Fabio Aguiar (17-2) vs. Taylor Johnson (7-2) (Middleweight)

The preliminary card will come to a close with a middleweight fight between Fabio Aguiar and Taylor Johnson.

Aguiar lost his Bellator debut in April with a unanimous decision against Khalid Murtazaliev. He was entering the promotion after a long win streak on the regional scene.

Johnson has picked up two submission wins since joining Bellator last year. He opened his promotional run with a heel hook victory over Ed Ruth within a minute in September. Just a month later, he lost a decision to Johnny Eblen.

Johnson has earned another victory since then, catching Lance Wright in the first round of a bout with a rear naked choke.

Main Card (9:00PM EDT / 8:00PM CDT) (Showtime)

Bout 6: Jornel Lugo (6-0) vs. Keith Lee (7-4) (Catchweight 140 lbs)

Jornel Lugo will look to extend his undefeated pro record in the opening bout of the main card, fighting Keith Lee at a catchweight of 140-pounds.

Lugo has been flawless in MMA since turning pro in 2019. He won his Bellator debut in November, fighting to a decision against then-undefeated Schyler Sootho. Just four months ago he scored another win, defeating Cass Bell.

Lee has been a part of the Bellator roster since early 2020. He started his Bellator run with wins over Shawn Bunch and Vinicius Zani. He is now fighting with the goal of bouncing back from a decision loss he took to Raufeon Stots in November.

Bout 7: Marcelo Golm (8-3) vs. Billy Swanson (4-1) (Heavyweight)

Marcelo Golm will finally get his Bellator debut on Friday when fighting Billy Swanson.

Golm, a former UFC fighter, is joining Bellator after picking up two wins on the regional scene.

Golm has been booked in Bellator twice before, with both matchups falling through before fight week. He almost got removed from another show this week as original opponent Kelvin Tiller had to get pulled from this card.

Golm remained on the lineup as Swanson could be found for the bout. Swanson has a short, yet strong record that has four wins and one loss. His sole defeat came against now-UFC fighter Harry Hunsucker.

Bout 8: Logan Storley (11-1) vs. Dante Schiro (8-2) (Welterweight)

Attempting to bounce back from his only pro loss, Logan Storley will face Dante Schiro in Friday’s co-main event.

Storley has been part of the Bellator roster for a long time now, with Friday being his eighth appearance for them. He built his undefeated record under the promotion from 2017 to 2019, scoring six wins. However, that streak was broken last year by Yaroslav Amosov, who went on to become the promotion’s 170-pound champion just recently.

Storley now meets Schiro. The Wisconsin-based fighter is currently on a two-fight win streak, with both victories coming via stoppage. He has previously fought in LFA and ONE Championship and is looking for his third win within a year’s time.

Bout 9: Cheick Kongo (30-11-2) vs. Sergei Kharitonov (32-8) (Heavyweight)

Experience of over 80 combined pro-MMA fights will be within the cage when Cheick Kongo and Sergei Kharitonov meet in Friday’s main event.

The event is somewhat of a return for Kharitonov. The 41-year-old has fought in Bellator six times before, but is competing after a short stint outside of the promotion. He competed in boxing and MMA in 2020 and 2021, picking up two stoppage wins in each recently.

Kongo will be aiming to come back after losing a split decision to Timothy Johnson last year. The loss, which was Kongo’s first since 2015, put Johnson in a title position after.

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