Bellator 107 Main Card Preview for ‘Kongo vs Graham’ on Spike TV

Cheick-KongoBellator 107 comes from the renowned Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma, as the finals to the heavyweight,  bantamweight, and middleweight tournaments will all come to a close. Let’s jump right in. Headlining the show is former UFC heavyweight Cheick Kongo (19-8-2), and will be fighting former K-1 fighter Peter Graham (10-5). This tournament was shortened to four men from eight this season for some reason, but I think we got the finals Bellator ultimately wanted here despite Graham being an injury replacement. This could be a fireworks show, with both men going for the knockout early and often. Obviously, Graham holds the advantage in that department due to his striking background, but we’ve seen Cheick Kongo shoot in for takedowns and bring the fight to the ground when he feels like he doesn’t have the edge on the feet. That said, Kongo is a slow, plodding fighter who absolutely can get his chin touched by a striker of Graham’s caliber, but will he even let that happen? This could either be a completely awesome striking battle, or Kongo playing it smart. Kongo looked good beating up Mark Godbeer at Bellator 102, but Graham has more ring awareness than Godbeer did. In the bantamweight tournament final, Joe Warren (9-3) will fight Travis Marx (21-4). Joe Warren is finally warming back up, with this being his third fight in the last 12 months since dropping the featherweight belt to Pat Curran. He hasn’t changed his style, he’s still a wrestler who loves to throw a few extremely sloppy, but awesome, unconventional strikes (spinning heel kicks, flying knees, etc). He has a fantastic gas tank, a somewhat deteriorating chin and a heart that won’t quit. Some people hate watching Warren’s smothering style, some adore it. Marx is far more well-rounded than Warren, and is on a two-fight winning streak with a decision win over Chase Beebe at Bellator 90 and a TKO victory over Brandon Bender at Bellator 100. Marx will have an uphill battle to start, with Warren always looking to eat a few shots before he moves in and grabs the clinch and takes his opponent down. But if Marx can keep it at a distance, he can absolutely pepper Warren into a TKO, as Warren’s head movement is absolutely lacking, and he telegraphs his takedowns. Wrapping up the middleweight tournament is Mikkel Parlo (11-1) standing across from Brennan Ward (8-1). This tournament has been riddled with replacements and injuries, but it should still make for a fun finals. Parlo is a striker of the Dutch variety, while Ward is somewhat less impressive, despite finishing his last three opponents. Ward takes a lot of needless damage, but he does have a decent NCAA wrestling pedigree to fall back on to nullify Parlo’s superior striking if need be. Parlo has defeated better competition less impressively during the tournament, defeating fan-favorite Brian Rogers and then Jason Butcher by unanimous decisions. This will be the toughest test or Ward’s career, and he may go all-out as he usually does (five first-round finishes). This could steal the show. To open the Spike broadcast, we have a welterweight feature fight between Martin Stapleton (12-2) vs. Derek Campos (12-3). Campos is a good wrestler who is on a three-fight winning streak since losing to Rich Clementi at Bellator 70. He has decent hands, and good submission defense. Stapleton lost to Saad Awad in the season nine quarterfinals, getting absolutely overwhelmed on the feet until he was finished via choke. Stapleton was fairly hyped coming into Bellator, a winner of eight fights in a row across the pond in the UK. This may come down to experience, as Campos has just fought better people and been in worse situations. Stapleton hasn’t fought the same type of battles Campos has, and outside of that, these fighters are quite evenly-matched. As Mike Goldberg would dare say in a Bellator article, virtually identical. Campos has the edge due to his wrestling, as Stapleton just isn’t on his level there.

Written by Jason Nawara

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