Cheick Kongo win shows upside to UFC talent in Bellator

In the last few years, MMA fans have seen several UFC stars signing with Bellator. If you’ve been watching the sport for a few years, it’s a welcome sight, especially if you were attached to a particular UFC fighter who was cut or left the promotion on bad terms.

It also reminded you of when MMA stars would move from UFC to Bellator. If you’re a professional wrestling fan, it was like watching WWF – now WWE – superstars jumping to WCW and vice-versa. Bellator made headlines last Friday when they announced they had signed former UFC star Josh Koscheck. Right away fans were talking about the prospective rematch between Koscheck and Paul Daley.

That same night Frenchman Cheick Kongo, another former UFC competitor, put on an impressive performance against former Bellator heavyweight champion Alexander Volkov. This win gave Kongo a good win after his split-decision loss against Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal.

Kongo was one of those UFC talents who came to Bellator with some hype – not as much as Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Tito Ortiz. Over the last few years, Kongo has racked up a 5-2 record with the promotion, including a Season 9 Heavyweight tournament win and now a victory over a former champion. Besides Lawal, Kongo’s other loss was against heavyweight champion Vitaly Minakov in their title match back in April 2014. As of right now there hasn’t been a former UFC fighter who has been able to capture a Bellator world title.

Kongo is one of those cases where Bellator can point and say,” Look at us, we’ve rebuilt Kongo’s career.” It’s kind of like Kimbo Slice, except no one is saying that Kongo’s fights were fixed. Critics could argue that his previous four wins – Mark Godbeer, Lavar Johnson, Peter Graham and Eric Smith – were against easy opponents.

This win will probably give Kongo another crack at Minakov, or Bellator just might give him the heavyweight title. Minakov hasn’t fought in the Bellator cage since his title defense against Kongo. Given the success of Bellator 138, the promotion might have Slice and Bobby Lashley fight for the title and have Kongo fight the winner.

Fans may complain that these scenarios may sound farfetched and are probably not the best fights in terms of quality, but Bellator has shown that they don’t need to put on quality main events to gain viewership.


About Al Stover

I graduated from Eastern Washington University with a bachelor's degree in journalism. I currently work as a Staff Reporter for the Cheney Free Press. I have interviewed characters like cage fighters, drag queens and dungeon masters. I like Batman, coffee, MMA and beer.
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