Former UFC castoffs Cheick Kongo and Lavar Johnson had very mixed results at Bellator 102. The pair who were signed by the organization to inject some life into a rather dreary heavyweight division will not be meeting in the tournament final as many had predicted.
Johnson was shocked in his tournament semi-final fight by Vinicius “Spartan” Queiroz. A single right hand from “Spartan” sent Johnson face-first to the canvas and the bout was stopped after follow up strikes. It lasted a mere 23 seconds. Queiroz picked up his seventh career victory and it was easily the most high profile win of his career. He clearly packs a punch as it was his sixth stoppage via knockout. As for Johnson, after viewing Bellator as a fresh start, his career lies in ruins.
Kongo did what he had to do in his semi-final against Mark Godbeer. Godbeer’s hopes of a standup affair quickly evaporated in the first round when Kongo employed takedowns with grinding clinch work against the cage. The crowd in Visalia, California voiced their displeasure. However the boos turned to cheers in round two when Kongo finished his opponent with devastating knees and a series of brutal punches.
Godbeer suffered the second defeat of his career and the difference in the level of competition faced clearly showed. He didn’t have an alternate plan when Kongo decided he wasn’t going to stand in the middle of the cage and trade punches.
In assessing Bellator’s heavyweight tournament final, “Spartan” clearly showed that he has the power to be able to give Kongo trouble, however the veteran French fighter has more areas of his game that he can rely on.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports