Photo courtesy of Bellator MMA

Bellator 207: Sergei Kharitonov finishes grand prix alternate Roy Nelson

Entering Friday night, Bellator MMA President Scott Coker considered heavyweight Roy “Big Country” Nelson to be the Bellator MMA Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament alternate.

In less than one round, Sergei Kharitnov may have stolen that title.

The Russian MMA legend time-traveled to his prime, peppering Nelson with brutal knees, jabs, and hooks. With just one second remaining in the first round, Kharitonov landed one knee too many for Nelson, who face planted on the canvas.

The performance would be even more impressive had it not been for controversy in the opening minutes. Holding Nelson in a front headlock position, Kharitonov landed several illegal knees to the head of his grounded opponent.

At first, Nelson looked noticeably shaken up, but as time went on, he came to form and was able to continue. Kharitonov was deducted a point, but ultimately, the judges didn’t become a factor.

RESULT: Sergei Kharitonov (29-7-1 1NC) def. Roy Nelson by knockout (punches and knees) at 4:59 of Round 1

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Nolan King is a MMA Today senior columnist, writer and renowned MMA insider. Nolan's other freelance work can also be found on FloCombat, Tapology, and MMA Brasil.