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Bellator 102: ‘Kongo vs. Godbeer’ Main Card Review



This past Friday night Bellator 102 went down at the Visalia Convention Center, in Visalia, California and it featured the start of the heavyweight tournament. It was also the semi-finals of the middleweight tournament and the finals of the bantamweight tournament.

The televised card was started with Brennan Ward (7-1) taking on Joe Pacheco (6-0) who was replacing an injured Perry Filkins. Pacheco was the fresher fighter and was the less damaged one entering the fight. His last fight was in March while Ward fought less than one month ago defeating Justin Torrey. Ward was able to get the finish in the second round of that fight, and he showed no wear and tear in this fight. Once again he got the second round stoppage. This time it was via guillotine choke. The first round, which started out well for Ward on his feet, quickly went south when Pacheco got a powerful slam-takedown and controlled the rest of the round. Ward was able to take control in the second. He used some solid striking to set-up the choke and with cat like quickness snatched Pacheco’s neck and locked it in.

The other middleweight semifinal featured Mikkel Parlo (10-1) dominating Jason Butcher (7-0) for three rounds to take the UD. Once it became apparent that he could not take Parlo down he tried flopping back trying to bait Parlo into his guard. This did not work despite the numerous times that he attempted it. The shorter Parlo was able to consistently get inside and land effectively to easily take the UD win. It sets up what should be a good final between him and Ward.

The bantamweight final matched up Rafael Silva (20-3) and Anthony Leone (13-5) for the right to face champion Eduardo Dantas. This was a close fight but Silva was just a little better, especially with his grappling. The rounds were very similar. For the first three minutes they would battle very closely on their feet and then Silva would get the takedown. He would do some damage and control the rest of the round. It made it very easy for the judges to score the rounds for him. He took the UD 30-27 on all three judges scorecards. This sets up a nice matchup between Silva and the champ Dantas.

The heavyweight tournament started off with the semi-finals. Heavyweight is the toughest division for any new MMA promotion to fill out. Bellator added two recently cut UFC heavyweights in Lavar Johnson (17-7) and Cheick Kongo (18-8-2). Kongo took on Mark Godbeer (8-1) in the main event and Johnson faced Vinicius Queiroz (6-3) two fights earlier in the night.

This was not the type of splash that Johnson was looking to make in his Bellator MMA debut. The two fighters spent the first nineteen seconds feinting and faking at each other. Then off of two feints Queiroz unloaded a wicked right hand as Johnson was coming in. Johnson went down face first and was out. Neither had won a fight via decision coming into this fight and that streak was extended with this one-punch first round KO. Queiroz will advance to the finals to face Cheick Kongo who had a better night in his Bellator MMA debut.

The first round was spent on the inside. In the early part of the round Kongo got two takedowns and both times Godbeer got up quickly. In between the two takedowns Godbeer’s knee found Kongo’s tender parts and was close several other times. After Kongo recovered he got the second takedown. When they got back to their feet they clinched up and spent the rest of the round in the clinch. They both landed some knees and it was a close fight on the inside. The first seemed like it was Kongo’s round but close enough neither fighter could comfortable that the judges would score the round for them.

In between rounds referee John McCarthy warned Godbeer about his knees to the groin. Godbeer’s corner quickly told him not to knee in the clinch and to focus on his boxing. This took one weapon away from Godbeer. In the second Kongo went back to the clinch and battered away at Godbeer’s legs. After he weakened the legs Kongo then went upstairs with the knees dropping Godbeer, who desperately shot for a single leg. Kongo stuffed it and fed Godbeer’s face some more of his knees. After several of them he stepped a half-step back and two quick uppercuts were the cherry and whip cream on top of the TKO win sundae for Kongo.


An avid lifetime fight fan who loves to write about it. So kick back, get comfortable and let's have some fun! "Wants me to tell him something pretty." Al Sweargen "Going wrong is not the end of fucking things, Johnny. Fuck no! I have comeback from plenty of shit that looked like it was going wrong." Dan Dority "Deserve's got nothin' to do with it." Bill Munny

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