On Friday night in the main event of Bellator 161, Cheick Kongo won a woeful heavyweight bout via majority decision over Tony Johnson.
If you wanted to make someone hate mixed martial arts, you should force them to watch this fight. Kongo's style has always been rather boring, and this bout was no different.
Every chance Kongo got, he pressed the heavier, but shorter Johnson against the cage and imposed his will. There weren't a lot of hard shots exchanged, but two of the three judges liked Kongo's positioning and his three takedowns enough to give him two rounds.
The third judge saw this snooze fest even.
Johnson has some talent, but truth be told, he'd probably be a light heavyweight if he were in shape. He quickly tired, and that made it easier for Kongo to get the judges' nod.
The 41-year-old Kongo has now won three fights in a row. One more win might put him in position to fight for the title.
It was an especially tough loss for Johnson. He'd dedicated the bout to the memory of his younger brother, who committed suicide during his training camp, per Greg Beacham of the Associated Press via the Hastings Tribune.
Johnson will likely be back, but it would be great to see him perform closer to a healthier weight.
Warren Chokes Out Kakai
It's never pretty with Joe Warren, but he got the job done on Friday with a third-round submission victory over Sirwan Kakai.
Pressure was the key to victory. Warren came after Kakai with combinations and standing body control against the cage.
In the first round, Warren wasn't landing a ton of punches, but he was controlling posture. In the second round, a big knee seemed to hurt Kakai.
He recovered but struggled to mount his own offense. While he did have his moments, Kakai's work in the second round wasn't enough to get him the round on any judge's scorecard.
Warren made it all irrelevant when he locked in the choke to force his weary opponent to tap. Per the post-fight interview, Warren says he wants his bantamweight title back, but he'll have a long road to realistic title contention.
Nonetheless, per Bellator MMA on Twitter, Warren is fired up after his win:
Bellator MMA @BellatorMMA
How @JoeWarrenMMA is feeling about his win right now! #Bellator161 https://t.co/ed3GbiFZyh2016-9-17 02:43:39
Eduardo Dantas is the current champion. If we're being honest, Warren has almost no chance to beat Dantas. Still, he pulled off a nice win on Friday night.
- Cheick Kongo def. Tony Johnson via majority decision (29-29, 29-28x2)
- Joe Warren def. Sirwan Kakai via third-round submission (guillotine)
- Anastasia Yankova def. Veta Arteaga via split decision (29-28x2, 28-29)
- Derek Campos def. Djamil Chan via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Campos' Crazy Comeback
After being rocked early in the first round, Derek Campos showed off his toughness and resilience. He rebounded to take the final two rounds and a unanimous-decision win over Djamil Chan.
As you can see from the tweeted images from Sherdog.com, Campos was in major trouble as Chan attempted to pour on the pressure:
#Bellator161 images: Campos def. Chan. Courtesy of @BellatorMMA https://t.co/xWMa2a5b2v2016-9-17 01:59:56
Somehow, Campos escaped, and he then took advantage of a fatigued Chan to earn a hard-fought victory. Campos has now won two fights in a row.
Yankova Gets Controversial Victory
Anastasia Yankova is Bellator's version of Paige VanZant, only she's not as good. PVZ has proven herself to be far more than a pretty face.
Yankova is stiff, and she doesn't move her head. Veta Arteaga took advantage of her opponent's poor defense.
Three rapid combinations buckled Yankova's legs in the first round, but to her credit, she battled back to stay in the fight. The second round was more competitive, but it still looked as if Arteaga's punches were more accurate.
The final round was all Yankova as she proved to have superior stamina. When the final scorecards were read, the crowd booed the decision.
Yankova looked embarrassed to have been the tabbed as the winner. She actually asked for a rematch during her post-fight interview. We'll see if Bellator matchmakers comply.