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Bellator 102: Cheick Kongo Makes His Debut
Bellator 102 takes place takes place tonight at California’s Visalia Convention Center, with the main card airing on Spike TV at 9 pm EST.
The broadcast will feature the tournament’s heavyweight and middleweight semifinals, as well as the round-robin’s bantamweight finals.
The fight that most fans will probably be looking forward to is the Bellator MMA debut appearance of Cheick Kong.
The former 11 – 6 & 1 (draw) UFC heavyweight had a finishing rate of 63% and was 3 & 2 over his last five fights, prior to exiting the promotion. Although not a stellar record, it was nonetheless solid and did feature a high percentage finishing rate. Further still, Kongo is one of only two opponents that have been able to push heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez to a decision, the other being Junior Dos Santos.
In the fight, Kongo, through the strength of his stand-up, forced Velasquez to take the fight to the ground and sustain a decision through the use of control and ground ’n pound. His ability to do that is testimony to the technique of his stand-up game and the power it wields, for any man that can make Cain Velasquez feel uncomfortable on his feet, is a force to be reckoned with.
The note of interest regarding Kongo and his exit from the UFC is that it was one of personal choice and was not the promotion’s doing. The UFC had offered Cheick a four fight contract prior to UFC 159 and his loss to Roy Nelson, but Kongo turned it down. The guess would be, that Cheick rolled the dice and gambled on a win and a stronger bargaining position, but came up short. Subsequent to that and to the best of my knowledge, White did not re-offer to Kongo.
That said, Kongo might have felt that the UFC’s original offer was too low and as such, felt that turning it down was worth the risk; again and unfortunately, it didn’t break his way.
However, six months later and Kongo finds’ himself signed to Bellator MMA and fighting in their heavyweight semi-final tournament tonight, and is now, a mere two fights away from a one hundred thousand dollar pay day.
That’s not a bad way bounce to bounce back from exiting the world’s premier MMA promotion.
Tonight, Kongo will be taking on the heavy-handed and near perfect, Mark Godbeer. “The Hand Of”, has a professional record of 8 & 1 and a pristine finishing rate of 100%; 6 KOs’ & 2 submissions.
All in all, it should be a good night of fights and as they are free for the viewing on SPIKE, the price can’t be beaten.
The card’s line-up is as follows:
MAIN CARD (SPIKE TV, 9 pm EST)
Mark Godbeer (239.6) vs. Cheick Kongo (235.9) – heavyweight semi-finals
Lavar Johnson (253.2) vs. Vinicius Queiroz (236.2) – heavyweight semi-finals
Anthony Leone (135.7) vs. Rafael Silva (136) – Bantamweight final
Jason Butcher (185.6) vs. Mikkel Parlo (185) – Middleweight semi-finals
Joe Pacheco (186) vs. Brennan Ward (185.2) – Middleweight semi-finals
Scott Cleve (145.1) vs. Isaac DeJesus (145.3)
Javy Ayala (264.6) vs. Thiago Santos (264.8)
Brandon Girtz (155.9) vs. Poppies Martinez (155)
Stephen Martinez (164.2) vs. Bryan Travers (164.5)
Cain Carrizosa (155) vs. Juan Quesada (155.8)
Brandon Cash (256.3) vs. William Richey (243.3)