Both fighters were in attendance at the 'Battle of Champions' combat sports event.
CCTV footage shows both fighters getting into an argument in the backroom area. However, Kharitonov, with his hands in his pockets didn't expect the attack from UFC middleweight Yandiev, who hit the 40-year-old with hooks before being separated by the police.
Kharitonov has enjoyed a well-traveled fighting career, fighting in Pride, Strikeforce, GLORY and other promotions, but never in the UFC.
It was an incident reminiscent of Jorge Masvidal's attack on fellow welterweight Leon Edwards at UFC on ESPN+ 5 in March of 2019, when 'Gamebred' sucker punched the Englishman.
According to Kharitonov's lawyer, the heavyweight fighter will be in the hospital for at least 10 days and will need to undergo surgery to his face. The report suggests that Yandiev was detained by the Russian police.
Bellator fighter Sergey Kharitonov reveals why UFC man Adam Yandiev attacked him
Speaking about the incident from the hospital on Alexander Lutikov YouTube channel, Sergey Kharitonov said:
I felt he hit me with something with his left hand. I know he always wore brass knuckles, he always had them with him... He broke my orbital bone.
Kharitonov later took to Instagram to release a statement about the incident:
I want to address all professional athletes. Don’t use your strength outside the gym, only if your close ones or those around you are threatened. We train to show the public our strength in the cage, the ring and on the tatami. The scariest thing is when people prepare specially in gyms to commit crimes. Trainers should identify such people and kick them out. I am a trained athlete, but in any case ended up in this situation. At least three months [of no] performances, fractures, bruises, etc… learn from the mistakes of others!
Yandiev, whose last fight in the UFC was back in 2018, took to Instagram to explain his side of the story:
There will be a full interview, where [I will talk] from beginning to end about my relationship with this character," wrote the fighter nicknamed 'Beard'.
"About the conflict that happened between us. It's all with the facts, the evidence. You'll find out tomorrow. Please don't write nonsense and heresy from the words of this liar. A little patience."Published 16 Nov 2020, 13:15 IST