Cheick Kongo is a French heavyweight fighter known for his vicious ground and pound, aggressive kickboxing-influenced standup, and his tendency to land strikes illegally to the groins of his opponents.
The Twilight of Kongo's UFC CareerEdit
Cheick most recently faced undefeated knockout prospect Travis Browne. He fought to a rare unanimous draw against Browne. After the fight, Kongo was suspended for six months because he broke his hand in the fight.
He faced striker Pat Barry after recovering. He defeated Barry via an amazing first-round comeback knockout. Barry dropped Kongo twice hard and Kongo seemed like he was unconscious both times. Kongo then dropped Barry unconscious and pulled out the victory.
He next faced Barry's friend in undefeated prospect Matt Mitrione, defeating Mitrione for the first time via a close unanimous decision. Kongo was afterwards rumored to face Ultimate Fighter winner Roy Nelson.
Instead he next signed to face Pride veteran Mark Hunt in the UFC's long-awaited return to Japan. Hunt knocked Kongo out in the first round.
Kongo next signed to face former Pride heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Nogueira was injured in training and replaced by Strikeforce veteran Shawn Jordan. Kongo defeated Jordan via a unanimous decision that was called "boring" by many.
Kongo next signed in November 2012 to face fellow veteran Stefan Struve in an intriguing style matchup that would take place in February 2013. The fight never materialized.
Kongo instead next signed to face former IFL heavyweight champion Roy Nelson. Nelson knocked Kongo out in the first round. Kongo was subsequently cut from the UFC the next week.
Run In BellatorEdit
Surprisingly a month or so later Kongo announced that he had signed with Bellator to appear in their ninth season of fights.
Kongo next made his Bellator debut against relative unknown Mark Godbeer in the semifinals of the season nine heavyweight tournament. Kongo defeated Godbeer via second round technical knockout.
With the victory he advanced to the finals to face Vinicius Quieroz. Quieroz was injured and replaced by kickboxer Peter Graham. Kongo defeated Graham via a relatively forgettable unanimous decision to earn $100,000 and a title shot against undefeated Bellator heavyweight champion Vitaly Minakov.
- Cheick Kongo vs. Andre Tete - The fight was Cheick Kongo's MMA debut.
- Cheick Kongo vs. Gilbert Aldana - The fight was the UFC debut of Kongo.
- Mirko Filipovic vs. Cheick Kongo - Many thought that Kongo should have been deducted one or more points for the numerous knee strikes he landed to the groin of Mirko Filipovic. Kongo however won a decision over Filipovic. He broke Filipovic's rib with a kick midway through the second round.
- Heath Herring vs. Cheick Kongo - The fight was the day before Heath Herring's thirtieth birthday.
- Cheick Kongo vs. Mustapha Al-Turk - The fight was the UFC debut of Mustapha Al-Turk.
- Cain Velasquez vs. Cheick Kongo - Cain Velasquez was rocked several times by big right hands from Kongo but he managed to dominate and gas out Kongo on the ground for a hard-fought decision victory.
- Frank Mir vs. Cheick Kongo - Frank Mir became the first man to submit Kongo.
- Travis Browne vs. Cheick Kongo - Travis Browne came into the fight undefeated. The fight ended in a controversial unanimous draw. Kongo grabbed the shorts repeatedly throughout the fight and even received a point deduction for the blatant foul. Kongo also suffered a broken hand during the bout.
- Cheick Kongo vs. Matt Mitrione - The fight was the first loss for Matt Mitrione.
- Mark Hunt vs. Cheick Kongo
- Roy Nelson vs. Cheick Kongo
- Cheick Kongo vs. Alexander Volkov