In tonight's main Bellator 280 main event, Bellator fans watched the rematch between heavyweight champion Ryan Bader and his opponent, the Cheick Kongo. Their first fight ended in controversy, with Bader's accidental blinking of an eye making the fight non-competitive.
Bader last won the heavyweight title unification against Valentin Moldovsky in January. As far as Kongo is concerned, it last competed in August 2021 with a victory over Sergei Kharitonov.
Bader (30-7 MMA) and Kongo (31-12-2 MMA) met for the first time in September 2019 at Bellator 226, which ended in a draw without incident due to an accidental eyeball.
Since then Ryan Bader has gone 2-2, both of his losses came in light heavyweight. Darth recently competed in the January Bellator 273 event, where he successfully defeated the Valentin Moldovsky to unify the Bellator Heavyweight Championship.
Meanwhile, Cheick Kongo is leading 1-1 since its first match against Bader. The Frenchman recently competed in the Bellator 265 in August 2021, where he submitted to fellow MMMA veteran Sergei Kharitonov.
In Bellator 280 Bader and Kongo were initially fighting against the fence, it seems Bader got down on his knees and the operation was stopped. It was clear on the replay that it was not interconnected, so the referee resumed the fighters in the same position. Bader continued to work for almost the entire round, taking control of the Kongo, kneeling down to his thighs and middle, causing a great deal of consternation at the Aquarius Arena.
Kongo came out very aggressive in the second as he fired some big shots that caught Bader's attention. Moments later, Bader returned to the position he had been in, pressing the Kongo against the wall of the cage. Challenger tried to fight with punches and elbows, but it didn't seem to slow down Bader as the champion comfortably went up two rounds.
Bader continued in the third and fourth rounds with exactly the same game plan, while constantly getting down on his knees and making small punches.
In the fifth, with Kongo needing Halle Marie, Bader made an easy takedown in less than a minute. With 90 seconds left, the referee stopped him and Kongo attacked. As soon as that happened, Bader took the fight back to the fence, scored a take down, and kept things constant to shut things down.
In the end, all three judges swept Bader (50-45, 50-45, 50-45) as he retained the championship for the second time in a row.
Who would you like to see Bader fight next following his victory over Kongo at today’s event in Paris?
The co-main event featured “The Soldier of God” himself, the ageless Yoel Romero facing Alex Polizzi in a light heavyweight bout. Romero lost his Bellator debut to Phil Davis last year via split decision. Tonight, he faced Polizzi, who entered with a record of 10-1 and a three-fight winning streak.
You can check out the Bellator 280 highlights below followed by the quick results! you can see video and highlights click here
BELLATOR 280 Fight Card & latest Results
Bellator Heavyweight Championship Bout: Ryan Bader (c) def. Cheick Kongo via unanimous decision (50-45×3)
Yoel Romero def. Alex Polizzi via TKO: R3, 4:59
Davy Gallon def. Benjamin Brander via TKO: R2, 3:18
Lorenz Larkin def. Kyle Stewart via TKO: R1, 4:44
Gregory Babene def. Mike Shipman via knockout (punches): R1, 2:11
Piotr Niedzielski def. Pedro Carvalho via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Thibault Gouti def. Lewis Long via unanimous decision (30-27×3)
Jordan Barton def. Fabacary Diatta via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Soren Bak def. Charlie Leary via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
Yves Landu def. Gavin Hughes via TKO (body kick) – Round 1, 3:01
Lucie Bertaud def. Katarzyna Sadura via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Youcef Ouabbas def. Matthieu Letho via TKO (punches): R1, 4:17
Bourama Camara def. Victor Verchere via knockout (punches): R1, 3:06