MMA Odds and Ends for Wednesday: Kongo Released By UFC

Cheick Kongo Veteran UFC heavyweight Cheick Kongo was today released by the promotion after fulfilling the terms of his last contract. Kongo, who went 11-6-1 in a UFC career dating back to 2006, was knocked out by Roy Nelson this past weekend at UFC 159 and that loss, coupled with zero fights left on his contract, and the UFC decided to release him. Kongo is 37-years old and has been knocked out in two of his past three fights. The long-time vet holds notable career victories over Pat Barry, Matt Mitrione and Shawn Jordan and was often known as the ultimate gatekeeper of the UFC heavyweight division because he failed to win when he stepped up in competition, such as his losses to Cain Velasquez and Frank Mir, but was able to beat pretty much anyone else. The native of France is known for his body-builder physique as well as his Greco-Roman wrestling and his knockout power. However, he’s also known as being a dirty fighter and is often flagged in his fights for both kneeing his opponent in the groin and and grabbing his opponents’ shorts. Still, he remains somewhat of a draw and this release was a tad surprising. Look for the World Series of Fighting to give Kongo a look and possibly match him up against Anthony “Rumble” Johnson if Johnson is willing to take another heavyweight bout. It’s possible Bellator also considers signing him to help bolster their heavyweight division. Bellator Light Heavyweight Tournament Set Bellator today announced the full four-man field for their upcoming light heavyweight tournament. On the one side of the bracket Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal faces Seth Petruzelli, while the other side of the bracket has Renato “Babalu” Sobral matched up against Jacob Noe. The tournament will commence at Bellator 96 on June 19 in Oklahoma. The main event of the evening sees Michael Chandler take on Dave Jansen for the Bellator Lightweight Championship, while War Machine also makes his return at the same event. From first glance it looks as though this tournament has been designed for King Mo to win it and get his rematch against the winner of Attila Vegh vs. Emanuel Newton. Petruzelli isn’t much of anything at this point in his career while both Babalu and Noe aren’t relavent anymore either. Bellator invested a lot of money in King Mo and if he can’t beat the likes of Petruzelli and Noe then he doesn’t deserve to be Bellator’s light heavyweight champion. Riley Vs. Salas Added To UFC On FOX 8 The UFC added a lightweight bout between Aaron Riley and Justin Salas to the upcoming UFC on FOX 8 card, which is set to take place July 27 at KeyArena in Seattle, WA. The fight will be a part of the evening’s preliminary card. Both Riley and Salas are coming off losses and it’s likely the loser of this fight is going to get cut. Riley, 32, is a veteran of the sport and has fought on-and-off in the UFC since 2002, while the 31-year-old Salas is 1-1 in the Octagon with a decision win over Anton Kuivanen and a knockout loss to Tim Means. This is an interesting fight that doesn’t have much relevance as far as the division’s rankings go. Although Riley has much more experience than Salas, he’s also been knocked out many times in his career and is a giant fade at this point. I’d guess that Salas opens as a decent-sized favorite in this fight, perhaps around -200, because it’s a fight he really should win but if the good version of Riley shows up he will have a chance at scoring the upset.

Written by Adam Martin.

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