Cheick Kongo claimed a dramatic submission win over Paul Buentello to claim the Bellator heavyweight title in the main event of Bellator 265.
Cheick Kongo is a French-born heavyweight fighter that has been fighting in the Bellator promotion for over 10 years. He won the heavyweight world championship in 2011 and defended it twice before losing it to current champion Ryan Bader.
Cheick Kongo of France defeated Russian Sergei Kharitonov in the main fight at Bellator 265 to win the battle of the heavyweight veterans.
At the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Kongo, 46, beat Kharitonov, 41, via submission in the last second of round two.
Logan Storley defeated welterweight Dante Schiro in a split-decision victory in the co-main event.
Marcelo Golm and Jornel Lugo were also victorious.
Kongo makes a late comeback
When the fight began, Kharitonov forced a hesitant Kongo to withdraw behind the fence, stalking the Frenchman around the cage throughout the first round.
As the 46-year-old showed symptoms of discomfort early on, ‘The Paratrooper’ momentarily floored Kongo with a straight shot and had him in trouble in the final seconds of the round.
In round two, Kongo began to return fire with his own punches, but Kharitonov kept the pressure on by stifling Kongo’s takedown attempts and punishing him with hard shots to the head and body.
Kongo, though, burst into life midway through the second round, drastically turning the fight in his favor after being on the receiving end for a round and a half.
Kongo slammed Kharitonov with a barrage of punches before slamming him to the ground.
The Frenchman then piled on the pressure with ground blows before grabbing Kharitonov’s back and locked in a rear-naked choke, forcing the Russian to submit with one second remaining in the round.
Kongo’s 31st win in 44 MMA fights saw him return to the winner’s circle after being beaten by Tim Johnson in the main event in his hometown of Paris in October.
Storley comes out on top.
Storley now has a 12-1 career record.
In the evening’s co-main event, Storley of South Dakota came back from his first career loss to win by split decision in his home state.
Last November, Storley, the number-five welterweight contender, lost a split decision to Yaroslav Amosov, who went on to win the Bellator welterweight championship.
The 28-year-old American, though, returned to winning ways in the opening two rounds, outwrestling newcomer Schiro to help earn scores of 29-28 on two of the three judges’ scorecards. Schiro won the bout 29-28 on the other scorecard.
Despite increasing his career record to 12-1, Storley said he was “embarrassed” by his performance and expressed his wish to fight world champion Amosov again.
“I want Amosov, but after that performance, I don’t believe I’ve got much of a case. But I’m certain that I can carry him into deep water “he said
“I believe I am superior to him, and I admire him. Tonight, I didn’t reveal it in there. But that’s exactly what I’m looking for. I want to be the global champion.”
Golm earns a last-second TKO.
Golm, a Brazilian heavyweight, got off to a winning start in the Bellator cage, finishing short-notice newcomer Billy Swanson in the last seconds of the first round.
In their main event battle, Golm, a former UFC heavyweight who won a Bellator contract after winning back-to-back fights following his release from the UFC, appeared the larger, stronger, and better-conditioned fighter.
The 28-year-old fighter from America’s Top Team spent the most of the round pushing his opponent towards the cage. Then, as the 10-second clapper rang out in the last seconds of the round, he unleashed a torrent of blows that knocked Swanson down and caused the TKO stoppage at 4:57.
Golm’s career record increased to 9-3, and he now has a three-fight win streak since leaving the UFC.
Following his victory, he issued a challenge to undefeated 6ft 8in competitor Steve Mowry.
Lugo wants to compete in the Bantamweight Grand Prix.
Lugo, an unbeaten prospect, became the first fighter to finish Keith Lee in their 140lb contract weight match-up with a first-round technical submission win.
Lugo came near to securing a D’Arce choke over Lee, the younger brother of UFC welterweight Kevin Lee, earlier in the round as he sought a submission finish.
But the undefeated 25-year-old would not be stopped, and in the closing seconds of the round, he locked up a tight rear-naked choke. When the bell rang, Lee refused to tap and was knocked out.
Lugo’s outstanding performance increased his record to 7-0, with four of his victories coming inside the Bellator cage.
Lugo stated after his win that he believed his performance would earn him a place in a future Bellator bantamweight Grand Prix event.
He also disclosed his preferred first-round opponent: Sergio Pettis, the current Bellator bantamweight champion.
“Come on, Sergio. Let’s get the belt out of the way. Imagine me winning a title with a 7-0 record “He went on to say that he hopes to follow in the footsteps of newly minted featherweight champion AJ McKee, who recently defeated champion Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire to win the Bellator featherweight Grand Prix.
Lugo, on the other hand, said that he would like a somewhat different path through the competition.
He said, “I’m going to do the polar opposite of AJ McKee.”
“AJ McKee won the event and took home the championship belt in the end.
“I’ll win the belt at the start of the tournament and defend it throughout.”
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