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UFC 97: Big Win for Cheick Kongo Over Antoni Hardonk



Cheick Kongo has taken another step toward getting a UFC heavyweight title shot, defeating Antoni Hardonk by second-round TKO Saturday night at UFC 97.

Kongo needs at least one more win before he'd get a shot at the heavyweight title (which will next be contested between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir at UFC 100), but if the UFC matches him up with a top contender like Shane Carwin, Kongo could be contending for the belt before the year is out.

His win over Hardonk was impressive. Hardonk, a very skillful kickboxer, was on a three-fight winning streak and had beaten all three opponents handily. But he had no answer for Kongo, who out-muscled him in the first round and then took him down in the second and pounded him out until the referee stopped the fight to ensure Hardonk's safety. It was a dominant second-round TKO win.

Kongo is nowhere near as big a name in the UFC as Lesnar or Mir, or Randy Couture or Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, so he still has a ways to go before he climbs to the top of the heavyweight heap. But he's on his way.

UFC 97 Photos

    Chuck Liddell and Shogun Rua shake hands before their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC

    Chuck Liddell, right, punches Shogun Rua during their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC

    Chuck Liddell, right, punches Shogun Rua during their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC

    Chuck Liddell, left, punches Shogun Rua during their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC

    Shogun Rua, right, attempts to punch Chuck Liddell during their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC

    Shogun Rua takes down Chuck Liddell during their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC

    Chuck Liddell and Shogun Rua battle during their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC

    Chuck Liddell and Shogun Rua battle during their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC

    Shogun Rua pounds Chuck Liddell during their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC

    Shogun Rua pounds Chuck Liddell during their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC

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