At Bellator 102, Cheick Kongo will be looking to resurrect a fighting career that eventually ran out of gas in the UFC. The gigantic French heavyweight had a very lengthy tenure with the organization spanning 18 fights over seven years; however, it ended on a down note at UFC 159 with a first-round knockout loss to Roy Nelson. Kongo’s overall record during his UFC stint was a respectable 11-6-1.
Kongo will be making his organizational debut in California as he enters Bellator’s four-man heavyweight tournament. He brings instant credibility to a division that is desperately in need of it.
Kongo is truly one of those fighters where you aren’t quite sure what you are going to get. He’s always been in outstanding physical shape, but his performances can be all over the map. Kongo has been in terrific fights like his sensational come-from-behind knockout win against Pat Barry, and in absolute snoozers like his fight against Shawn Jordan at UFC 149.
His first Bellator test will come against Mark Godbeer. It’s easily the biggest career test for the English fighter who is 8-1 overall. If Kongo fails to produce a victory against the hard-hitting Godbeer, his career will certainly be in peril. Godbeer does possess six knockout victories to his credit, but hasn’t faced anyone near the level of competition that Kongo has faced in his career.
Kongo has been in with the best of the best during his career, including the likes of current UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, former champ Frank Mir along with Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, Travis Browne and Mark Hunt.
Bellator is banking on the UFC castoff to inject some excitement into their heavyweight division. It’s important that Kongo not only wins, but look impressive in doing so if he wants to make a serious statement with his new organization.
Other UFC castoffs such as Diego Nunes, Marcus Davis, and John Alessio have recently suffered major stumbles in the Bellator cage. Kongo can’t afford one on Friday night against Godbeer.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports