Tag Archive for Kongo

Johnson May Be Headed To Jail After What He Does To Kongo At Bellator 208

Bellator 208: “Fedor vs. Sonnen” takes place this Saturday night (Oct. 13, 2018) at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. The other half of the promotion’s Heavyweight Grand Prix final bracket comes down to “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (37-5, 1 NC) and “The American Gangster” Chael Sonnen (31-15-1) in the Paramount Network-televised main event.

They’re not the only Heavyweights with something to prove in Uniondale this weekend, though. And, interestingly enough, both men have a Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) history ahead of their Bellator bout.

Cheick Kongo (28-10-2) owns a six-fight promotional win streak that probably should have earned him a slot in the Grand Prix … yet somehow didn’t. Perhaps knocking out Javy Ayala in May reminded both the promotion and fight fans that “The Darkness” can fall on any opponent he faces at any time — the 13th knockout to date of his lengthy career. Meanwhile, the hard-hitting Timothy Johnson (12-4) also departed UFC for the sunny shores of Bellator, but unlike Kongo, this is bout marks his promotional debut. With four wins by submission and five via knockout, Johnson is a dual threat who is well met by the seasoned Kongo as he looks to be just as impressive and stamp his claim to challenge the tournament winner.

MMAmania.com recently spoke with Johnson about his decision to join Bellator and how excited he is to take a fight with Kongo on a key card for the Heavyweight division.

“Yeah, I don’t think anyone could ask for a better debut than to be on this card, so I’m pretty happy about it. No it’s not (an easy fight), but I more than welcome the challenge. I’ve been waiting a long time to fight some kind of big time name, and just kind of give it a shot and see if I’m there or not.”

One reason Johnson feels that way is that he thinks UFC was unwilling to match him up with the top Heavyweights of the division during his three years in the promotion.

“The only thing I’ve really been vocal about exiting UFC has been that after my third UFC fight, I cracked the top 15, got as high as 12 and never dropped out (before I was released). After every one of my wins I’d be asking for big names like Stefan Struve, Alexey Oleynik — apparently they offered me to him and he declined it. I asked for Derrick Lewis multiple times and they’d never give me the opportunity to fight any of the guys that were in (or) around like that Top 10 area, so that kind of sucked.”

What makes it worse for Johnson was that he would end up fighting unranked fighters in their promotional debuts, which offered him zero chance at upward momentum.

“So, I finally just got sick of hearing it because they’d tell me, ‘No no, those guys aren’t available, but we’ve got this debuting Heavyweight, that’s all that’s available right now,’ so I’d have to always get stuck fighting debuts, and never got a chance to get the opportunity to crack the Top 10.”

It’s also a little bit strange that UFC didn’t renew his deal after a win in February when it seems to prefer to cut contracts or grant releases off of losses. It could be related to him turning down a short notice fight, though.

“The only opportunity I got was a missed opportunity. It was a short notice fight. They did offer me Andrei Arlovski, but I was laying in bed with the flu, and it was like four weeks away in Denver. I was like, ‘Guys, I’m not going to be ready for that fight.’ So they did offer me one (big fight) if I’m being honest.”

That would, of course, be the infamous fight in Denver, Colo., during which Francis Ngannou gave Arlovski a monster uppercut that left fans wondering if his head (and shoulders) were still connected to his body.

Johnson is not bitter about his missed opportunities … or lack thereof. He sees a whole new world of opportunities opening up for him with this Cheick Kongo fight — possibly even a world title shot after the Grand Prix.

“You know I wouldn’t shy away from that. It’s definitely something that is a possibility because Cheick is an alternate in the tournament, so he’s right there right now. You know when I was thinking about it for either one of us, we’d probably be fighting when the tournament comes to a completion and probably one of us would be fighting on that card as well and get the winner of whoever wins it all.”

The good news is the date and place for the finals has already been set — Jan. 26, 2019, at The Forum in Inglewood, California. The bad news is after Kongo’s first round finish in May, Johnson knows his size and power isn’t to be slept on early in a fight.

“Oh yeah, no for sure. You’re going to have that at Heavyweight no matter what. You’ve definitely got to be ready to go the first [five minutes]. The first round is always dangerous at Heavyweight no matter what.”

So where does Johnson feel he has the most advantage in the fight and the best chance to negate Kongo’s strength and power?

“Probably the clinch. Probably my clinch game, my dirty boxing type stuff. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I overpower them but it’s a gritty mentality area, and that’s an area where I like to be, because if you can impose your will on somebody there, you can impose it anywhere.”

Even though Johnson isn’t a fan of predictions (and he explains why) he did offer a little bit of a preview for the Kongo fight.

“I don’t like making predictions because then it makes you look like an idiot if you’re wrong {*laughing*}. But, it’s either going to go to a decision or — if things go very well for me — you may see me in jail.”

Now that’s an epic cliffhanger. To find out which way the pendulum will swing this weekend be sure to watch Bellator 208 live on Paramount Network this Saturday night.

Complete audio of our interview is embedded above, and complete coverage of “Sonnen vs. Fedor” resides here at MMA Mania all week long.

To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.

MMAmania.com – All Posts

Kongo vs. Johnson Added to Bellator 208 Lineup; ‘Baby Slice’ to Compete at Bellator 207

The cards for Bellator’s doubleheader weekend in October continue to grow.
Recent News on Sherdog.com

Kongo vs. Johnson Added to Bellator 208 Lineup; ‘Baby Slice’ to Compete at Bellator 207

The cards for Bellator’s doubleheader weekend in October continue to grow.
Recent News on Sherdog.com

Kongo vs. Johnson Added to Bellator 208 Lineup; ‘Baby Slice’ to Compete at Bellator 207

The cards for Bellator’s doubleheader weekend in October continue to grow.
Recent News on Sherdog.com

Kongo vs. Johnson Added to Bellator 208 Lineup; ‘Baby Slice’ to Compete at Bellator 207

The cards for Bellator’s doubleheader weekend in October continue to grow.
Recent News on Sherdog.com

Augusto Sakai: Cheick Kongo changed his fighting style after multiple KO losses

Bellator heavyweight Augusto Sakai is looking to score his signature win in London.

Unbeaten in 10 pro bouts, half of them under the Bellator banner, Augusto Sakai faces longtime veteran Cheick Kongo at the SSE Arena at Friday’s Bellator 179.

But that wasn’t the fight he was expecting. Speaking with MMA Fighting, Sakai said he was previously linked to a fight with Javy Ayala, who demolished Sergei Kharitonov in 16 seconds in November, but the bout was scrapped due to his opponent’s injury. Soon thereafter, the promotion set up a fight with Kongo.

Kongo is looking for his ninth Bellator win after his 18-fight UFC run from 2006-13, where he beat the likes of Mirko Cro Cop, Matt Mitrione and Pat Barry. Yet, Sakai feels the French heavyweight is not the same fighter anymore.

“He’s fighting safer now, using his experience,” the Brazilian said. “He realized it’s better for him to fight safer after he suffered some knockouts in the UFC.”

Both of Kongo’s Bellator losses came by way of decision, but was finished three times inside the Octagon, getting knocked out by Mark Hunt and Roy Nelson, and submitted by Frank Mir after getting knocked down. Even in his wins, like the two-minute brawl with Pat Barry in 2011, Kongo was also dropped by his opponent.

“He saw he can’t get punished and knocked out all the time,” Sakai said. “He has a sequence of tough fights, getting knocked down or knocked out in every fight, and that made him change his strategy a bit.”

Sakai, who scored seven of his nine wins by knockout, won’t go for the kill right away in London, but envisions a stoppage win.

“Maybe the chin, maybe some other part of his body… maybe a kick to his ribs,” Sakai said with a laugh. “My main focus is to win. My record shows I prefer a knockout, but I’m cool. I don’t go in there gunning for the knockout. If it comes, great, I’ll finish him, but I can also submit him on the ground. It comes naturally. I see myself defeating him standing. Let’s try to get this knockout.”

Coming off a disappointing majority draw with Dan Charles a year ago, Sakai expects to be recognized as one of the best heavyweights after taking on a popular name like Kongo.

“My next fight is always the most important, but this one if big because of his name, the fact that he’s coming off a lot of wins,” Sakai said. “Winning this fight, I’d get more notoriety, people would look me as a title contender. I’m already seen as a prospect, but many still don’t believe in me, I think.

“Winning this fight, it would change the way they see me. I’m not worried about showing people what I’m capable of. I know what I’m capable of, what I can do in there. But that would come naturally with the win.”

MMA Fighting – All Posts

Augusto Sakai: Cheick Kongo changed his fighting style after multiple KO losses

Bellator heavyweight Augusto Sakai is looking to score his signature win in London.

Unbeaten in 10 pro bouts, half of them under the Bellator banner, Augusto Sakai faces longtime veteran Cheick Kongo at the SSE Arena at Friday’s Bellator 179.

But that wasn’t the fight he was expecting. Speaking with MMA Fighting, Sakai said he was previously linked to a fight with Javy Ayala, who demolished Sergei Kharitonov in 16 seconds in November, but the bout was scrapped due to his opponent’s injury. Soon thereafter, the promotion set up a fight with Kongo.

Kongo is looking for his ninth Bellator win after his 18-fight UFC run from 2006-13, where he beat the likes of Mirko Cro Cop, Matt Mitrione and Pat Barry. Yet, Sakai feels the French heavyweight is not the same fighter anymore.

“He’s fighting safer now, using his experience,” the Brazilian said. “He realized it’s better for him to fight safer after he suffered some knockouts in the UFC.”

Both of Kongo’s Bellator losses came by way of decision, but was finished three times inside the Octagon, getting knocked out by Mark Hunt and Roy Nelson, and submitted by Frank Mir after getting knocked down. Even in his wins, like the two-minute brawl with Pat Barry in 2011, Kongo was also dropped by his opponent.

“He saw he can’t get punished and knocked out all the time,” Sakai said. “He has a sequence of tough fights, getting knocked down or knocked out in every fight, and that made him change his strategy a bit.”

Sakai, who scored seven of his nine wins by knockout, won’t go for the kill right away in London, but envisions a stoppage win.

“Maybe the chin, maybe some other part of his body… maybe a kick to his ribs,” Sakai said with a laugh. “My main focus is to win. My record shows I prefer a knockout, but I’m cool. I don’t go in there gunning for the knockout. If it comes, great, I’ll finish him, but I can also submit him on the ground. It comes naturally. I see myself defeating him standing. Let’s try to get this knockout.”

Coming off a disappointing majority draw with Dan Charles a year ago, Sakai expects to be recognized as one of the best heavyweights after taking on a popular name like Kongo.

“My next fight is always the most important, but this one if big because of his name, the fact that he’s coming off a lot of wins,” Sakai said. “Winning this fight, I’d get more notoriety, people would look me as a title contender. I’m already seen as a prospect, but many still don’t believe in me, I think.

“Winning this fight, it would change the way they see me. I’m not worried about showing people what I’m capable of. I know what I’m capable of, what I can do in there. But that would come naturally with the win.”

MMA Fighting – All Posts

Augusto Sakai: Cheick Kongo changed his fighting style after multiple KO losses

Bellator heavyweight Augusto Sakai is looking to score his signature win in London.

Unbeaten in 10 pro bouts, half of them under the Bellator banner, Augusto Sakai faces longtime veteran Cheick Kongo at the SSE Arena at Friday’s Bellator 179.

But that wasn’t the fight he was expecting. Speaking with MMA Fighting, Sakai said he was previously linked to a fight with Javy Ayala, who demolished Sergei Kharitonov in 16 seconds in November, but the bout was scrapped due to his opponent’s injury. Soon thereafter, the promotion set up a fight with Kongo.

Kongo is looking for his ninth Bellator win after his 18-fight UFC run from 2006-13, where he beat the likes of Mirko Cro Cop, Matt Mitrione and Pat Barry. Yet, Sakai feels the French heavyweight is not the same fighter anymore.

“He’s fighting safer now, using his experience,” the Brazilian said. “He realized it’s better for him to fight safer after he suffered some knockouts in the UFC.”

Both of Kongo’s Bellator losses came by way of decision, but was finished three times inside the Octagon, getting knocked out by Mark Hunt and Roy Nelson, and submitted by Frank Mir after getting knocked down. Even in his wins, like the two-minute brawl with Pat Barry in 2011, Kongo was also dropped by his opponent.

“He saw he can’t get punished and knocked out all the time,” Sakai said. “He has a sequence of tough fights, getting knocked down or knocked out in every fight, and that made him change his strategy a bit.”

Sakai, who scored seven of his nine wins by knockout, won’t go for the kill right away in London, but envisions a stoppage win.

“Maybe the chin, maybe some other part of his body… maybe a kick to his ribs,” Sakai said with a laugh. “My main focus is to win. My record shows I prefer a knockout, but I’m cool. I don’t go in there gunning for the knockout. If it comes, great, I’ll finish him, but I can also submit him on the ground. It comes naturally. I see myself defeating him standing. Let’s try to get this knockout.”

Coming off a disappointing majority draw with Dan Charles a year ago, Sakai expects to be recognized as one of the best heavyweights after taking on a popular name like Kongo.

“My next fight is always the most important, but this one if big because of his name, the fact that he’s coming off a lot of wins,” Sakai said. “Winning this fight, I’d get more notoriety, people would look me as a title contender. I’m already seen as a prospect, but many still don’t believe in me, I think.

“Winning this fight, it would change the way they see me. I’m not worried about showing people what I’m capable of. I know what I’m capable of, what I can do in there. But that would come naturally with the win.”

MMA Fighting – All Posts

Bellator 172: Cheick Kongo vs Oli Thompson joins ‘Fedor vs Mitrione’ line up in San Jose

Bellator 172 “Fedor vs. Mitrione” is coming to SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Feb. 18, 2017. The bout to lure the fans in the door that evening is MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko returning for his first U.S. fight in over five years against the massive Matt Mitrione.

If one heavyweight attraction with international appeal is a draw, then two is even better, so Bellator has booked a brand new fight for the card with France’s own Cheick Kongo facing British star Oli Thompson.

Kongo (25-10-2) has as solid a claim as any fighter in Bellator to the vacant heavyweight title, having won five of his last six fights and seven out of nine overall since joining Bellator back in 2013. A win over Thompson in San Jose would be his fourth victory in a row.

Thompson (17-9), the strongman from East Sussex, will look for redemption against Kongo after being smashed by the aforementioned Mitrione in his Bellator debut. Before that Thompson had reeled off five consecutive wins in 2015.

The updated Bellator 172 card as it stands today is available below.

Bellator 172 “Fedor vs. Mitrione” (Spike TV):

Heavyweight: Fedor Emelianenko (36-4, 1 NC) vs. Matt Mitrione (11-5)
Heavyweight: Cheick Kongo (25-10-2) vs. Oli Thompson (17-9)
Lightweight: Adam Piccolotti (9-0) vs. Brent Primus (7-0)

Bellator 172 “Prelims” Card (Spike.com):

Welterweight: James Terry (18-9) vs. David Douglas (9-6)
Lightweight: Nikko Jackson (1-1) vs. Cesar Gonzalez (0-1)
Featherweight: Juan Cardenas (1-0) vs. Luis Vargas (0-1)
Welterweight: Danasabe Mohammed (5-1) vs. Carlos Rocha (9-4)
Flyweight: Anthony Do (4-1) vs. Bobby Escalante (4-5)
Flyweight: Matt Ramirez (1-2) vs. Jeremy Murphy (3-3)
Lightweight: J.J. Okanovich (3-1) vs. Paradise Vaovasa (5-1)
Featherweight: Justin Tenedora (Debut) vs. Roque Reyes (0-3)

To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.

MMAmania.com – All Posts

Cheick Kongo vs. Oli Thompson, Adam Piccolotti vs. Brent Primus added to Bellator 172

Cheick Kongo vs. Oli Thompson, and Adam Piccolotti vs. Brent Primus are the latest additions to Bellator 172. The news was announced by the promotion on Wednesday.

Kongo is currently on his best run since leaving the UFC back in 2013. The 41-year-old heavyweight is riding a three-fight winning streak with decision victories over Alexander Volkov, Vinicius Queiroz and Tony Johnson. Meanwhile, his opponent, Thompson, is coming off an unsuccessful Bellator debut, losing to Matt Mitrione in July at Bellator 158. That loss snapped a five-fight winning streak for the English fighter.

In the lightweight bout, Piccolotti and Primus will be placing their respective undefeated records on the line. Piccolotti, who’s 9-0 as a professional fighter, is 5-0 in Bellator and is coming off a unanimous decision over Brandon Girtz last November at Bellator 165. Primus is also 5-0 under the Bellator banner and last competed at Bellator 153 in April, defeating Gleristone Santos via split decision.

Both these bouts will be part of the main card of Bellator 172, which will be headlined by Fedor Emelianenko vs. Matt Mitrione and is set to take place on Feb. 18 at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif.

MMA Fighting – All Posts