Bellator has itself a new heavyweight title contender in French kickboxer Cheick Kongo following his unanimous-decision win over Peter Graham.
The bout saw Kongo handily take the first two rounds by plying his standard clinch-then-knee strategy to great effect. By the third round, Graham was visibly worn out and found himself battered thoroughly standing and on the ground. All three judges would score the fight 30-27 in Kongo's favor.
Cheick Kongo was famously set free of the UFC following his UFC 159 loss to Roy Nelson. While it seemed highly likely that the heavyweight veteran (who racked up a solid 11-6-1 record in the promotion) would simply return to his long-time home, he followed Wolfslair teammate Quinton "Rampage" Jackson to Bellator.
In his Bellator debut, he defeated British boxer Mark Godbeer to advance to the finals of Season 9's four-man heavyweight tournament.
His second bout, though, was repeatedly shaken up. While he was originally supposed to face fellow former UFC fighter Vinicius Queiroz (who was booted after a failed drug test after UFC 120), "Spartan" was forced to withdraw due to a knee injury. Additionally, the bout was removed from the Bellator 106 card after it was moved from pay-per-view to Spike TV, and the fight was then booked to headline Bellator 107.
Graham, like Kongo, comes primarily from a kickboxing background. While he started off his MMA career with a hideous 1-5 record, he rattled off nine straight wins from there, including wins over former Pride fighter Alexander Emelianenko and former Bellator heavyweight title contender Eric Prindle.
Kongo will face the winner of next week's heavyweight title bout between champion Alexander Volkov and Vitaly Minakov. When and where, though, remains to be seen.