Cheick Kongo's post-UFC career is going just fine. The 38-year-old turned back the clock and ground Peter Graham into a bloody mess over the course of three rounds to seize a dominant victory in Bellator's season nine heavyweight tournament finals, which took place Friday night in the main event of Bellator 107.
Kongo (21-8-2) generated constant pressure throughout the opening frame, keeping Graham (10-6) at bay with his jab and punishing the Australian with knees when the distance closed. Kongo continued his assault in the second round, ultimately opening up a wide cut above Graham's left brow.
By the final frame Graham was running on fumes, and Kongo took advantage, securing a takedown, jumping right into mount, then unloading a colossal elbow which broke the dam to Graham's cut. In the end Kongo's relentless attack proved to be too much, though a blood-caked Graham managed to survive until the final bell.
All three cageside judges in attendance scored the bout 30-27 in Kongo's favor, earning Kongo season nine's $100,000 heavyweight tournament prize.
The fight was Warren's from pillar to post, as the self-proclaimed "Baddest Man on the Planet" dominated Marx with a relentless slew of takedowns along with a smothering top game. Marx managed to climb to his feet midway through the second frame, only to be dropped by a huge knee off the break. Warren finished off his handiwork with a few extra punches, signaling the finish at 1:54 of round two.
Along with his $100,000 tournament prize, Warren is now slated to fight Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas.
"The baddest man is back to get a belt," an elated Warren proclaimed.
"Dantas, you better take that belt, bring it out to dinner, sleep with it, hug it, kiss it. Because I'm comin' for it. I'm gonna rip it off your waist and bring it back to the U.S."
Parlo slowed Ward's pace throughout the first round, peppering the American with strikes and at times gluing him against the fence. But the tide turned midway through the second, as Ward dropped Parlo with a straight left, followed up with a massive flurry of rights to the body, then finished the job with a salvo of straight right hands against the fence.
Parlo remained on his feet, however referee Kerry Hatley saw fit to jump in and stop the fight, much to Parlo's dismay. The finish arrived at 1:39 of the second round.
"I popped him with a good jab, I saw him go down," Ward said afterward. "I didn't want to get too crazy on him and lose a good position, but it was a good second round."
With the win, Ward earns a $100,000 grand prize, as well as a middleweight title shot against the winner of the November 22 battle between champion Alexander Shlemenko and season eight tourney winner Doug Marshall.
"Man, I'm looking forward to that fight," said a fired up Ward. "It's three hours away from my house. I'll be there. I want some front row seats so I can see who I got next, baby."
Campos secured takedowns and threatened with submissions throughout each of the first two rounds, before turning it up and ending the final frame raining down punches from a high mount. All three judges scored it 30-27 in Campos' favor, as the 25-year-old lightweight extended his current winning streak to four straight.