Only three weeks after making his Bellator debut, Australian Peter Graham returned back to action today in at Bellator 107. Graham stepped up as a late replacement to take on former UFC veteran Cheick Kongo in what was a Bellator Heavyweight Tournament Final.
The fight headlined the event which went down at the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma. The winner would win a shot at the Bellator Heavyweight Title, currently held by Russian Alexander Volkov.
As the fight started it was Peter Graham on the front foot pressuring the action however neither landed any significant shots early in the bout. It was Kongo who chose to close the distance midway through the first round, clinching with Graham before the Aussie wriggled free. Kongo then started to have success with his jab and started to come forward. A low blow by Graham momentarily halted the bout midway through the first round and on the restart Kongo immediately came forward before the two clinched against the cage.
The second round began with Kongo landing a nice right hand before the two fighters again clinched. A visible cut opened up over the left eye of Graham as Kongo started stepping in looking for the knock-out shot. A big right from Graham rocked Kongo however Graham was unable to captialise and Kongo quickly recovered his bearings. Kongo started to use the clinch to his advantage landing some big knees as Graham started to tire. As the second round came to an end, Kongo got a takedown before landing some big shots from the top.
Kongo started to take control in the third round and wasn’t long before the French fighter was again able to get the fight to the ground. There he landed another big shot that opened up a large cut on the forehead of Graham. The Aussie survived and was able to escape back to his feet however Kongo utilised the clinch to set-up another takedown. From inside half-guard, Kongo landed short elbows to the face and midsection of Graham as the the fight ended.
The judges unanimously agreed, awarding the fight to Cheick Kongo 30-27, 30-27, and 30-27. Kongo goes forward to face the winner over next week’s Bellator Heavyweight Title fight between champion Alexander Volkov and undefeated Vitaly Minakov.
- Cheick Kongo def Peter Graham via Decision (Unanimous)
- Joe Warren def Travis Marx via TKO (Knee & Punches), Rd 2, 1:56
- Brennan Ward def Mikkel Parlo via TKO (Punches), Rd 2, 1:39
- Derek Campos def Martin Stapleton via Decision (Unanimous)
- Patricky Freire def Edson Berto via Decision (Unanimous)
- Jonas Billstein def Cortez Coleman via Decision (Unanimous)
- Mike Mucitelli def Ryan McCurdy via Decision (Unanimous)
- Raphael Butler def Josh Burns via TKO (Retirement), Rd 1, 2:14
- Linton Vassell def Matt Jones via Decision (Unanimous)