Wrestling victory from the jaws of defeat, feeble heavyweight Cheick Kongo pulled out a dramatic submission victory on Friday over Sergei Kharitonov that likely retains his Bellator MMA title hopes alive.
Kongo (31-11-21, 1 NC), who was as soon as floored and badly wound to discontinue Round 1, became the tables within the following round to scramble a tedious Kharitonov earlier than taking him down and securing a faucet out by process of rear-naked choke with stunning a 2d to head in Round 2 of Bellator 265.
An exhausted Kongo wished an prolonged time frame to face up on his grasp vitality following the victory, which served as the predominant occasion of the card from Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Compelled to pour out the entirety left within him in advise to rally, the 46-yr-dilapidated Kongo improved to 16-3 below the Bellator banner since making his promotional debut in 2013.
The victory improved Kongo’s hopes of achieving his prolonged-held perform of taking pictures the Bellator heavyweight title. Kongo secured a title shot in 2019 following an eight-fight agree with lumber, nonetheless his Bellator 226 bout towards Ryan Bader resulted in a no contest following an accidental look for hump.
Not utterly was as soon as Kongo now not awarded a 2d likelihood, he lost what amounted to a No. 1 contender’s bout in his subsequent day out last October when he dropped a split resolution to Tim Johnson. With Bader currently tied up within the Bellator Light Heavyweight World Gargantuan Prix, Kongo will likely be an intriguing opponent for Valentin Moldovsky, who outlasted Johnson in June to agree with shut the intervening time title.
Kongo got off to a real inaugurate towards the heavy-handed Kharitonov by the usage of his jab to management distance and counter upright fingers to be conscious up his opponent’s face. But Kongo was as soon as too fervent to work along with his again to the cage, which left him a sitting duck for the plotting Kharitonov’s heavy jab.
A upright hand from Kharitonov temporarily dropped Kongo behind in Round 1 and a excessive kick gave the impression to agree with shut the look for of Kongo within the closing seconds, causing him to present his again on the circulation earlier than the bell, risking a stoppage from referee Mike Beltran that wasn’t called.
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Kharitonov (32-9, 2 NC) was as soon as unable to position Kongo away in Round 2, even with the native of France showing the roughly negative body language that suggested he was as soon as wound. No topic routinely pinning his foe to the cage, Kharitonov started to tire and Kongo changed the momentum for correct with a short upright hand to scramble him.
After temporarily taking him down, Kongo took Kharitonov’s again from a standing utter and wore him down with heavy punches from on the again of. A remaining takedown within the closing seconds allowed Kongo to retract Kharitonov’s again as soon as extra and be conscious the choke the usage of all of his body weight to force the faucet at 4: 59 of Round 2.