Cheick Kongo Knocks out Mark Godbeer via Knees in Bellator Debut

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Cheick Kongo Knocks out Mark Godbeer via Knees in Bellator Debut
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Cheick Kongo was successful in his Bellator debut, knocking out British heavyweight Mark Godbeer in the second round of their fight.

The bout started out slowly, with Kongo finding early success using his signature clinch-and-knee strategy. Fans booed lustily, but by the second round, Godbeer was clearly worn down.

Kongo would eventually secure a dominant position in the clinch and landed a beautiful back-leg knee to Godbeer's face. Godbeer would shoot for a single-leg takedown out of desperation, but Kongo sprawled, maintained top position and finished the bout from there (the official time being 2:04 of Round 2). 

Godbeer entered the night with an 8-1 MMA record predominantly on the European circuit. None of his opponents are especially noteworthy, however, and he had spent more than a year out of the cage before the fight.

Kongo was an enduring figure in the UFC's heavyweight division. Debuting all the way back at UFC 61 in 2006, he amassed a solid 11-6-1 record. However, the French kickboxer was always something of a heel due to his controversial win over fan favorite Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic.

He left his long-time promotion earlier this year after his contract expired. While he fielded offers from the UFC, he would ultimately find his way to Bellator.

The bout was part of a four-man tournament as part of Bellator's ninth season. Earlier in the night, Vinicius "Spartan" Queiroz scored a shocking 24-second knockout of fellow UFC veteran Lavar Johnson (you can read more about it here).

Kongo and Spartan will face off later this fall, with the winner of that fight then taking on Bellator heavyweight champion Alexander Volkov for the belt.

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