Bellator MMA keeps the weekly action going on Friday with Bellator 102. This show kicks off the heavyweight tournament to crown another contender to challenge Alexander Volkov at a later date. Just like last week Bellator has brought in fighters recently sent away from the UFC but this time they are not placed in the apparent squash matches as the lightweights were. Cheick Kongo and Lavar Johnson are, on paper, the best two heavyweights in the draw.
Kongo is 3-2 in his last five fights and coming off of a knockout defeat at the hands of Roy Nelson at UFC 159. The French athlete was well known as a striker, putting together some captivating stoppage wins in the Octagon. However, towards the end of his run he seemed to move completely away from that game while playing very little defense which allowed him to get knocked out twice in less than a year.
Kongo will make his debut against 8-1 Mark Godbeer who is also stepping into the circle cage for the first time. This English fighter is known mostly as a striker as six of his eight wins have come by some form of knockout. The style matchup leans towards that of the striking lot so it will be interesting to see if Mark has the experience to land a shot to Kongo's chin which has seen its better days.
On the other side of the bracket is another former UFC heavy hitter in Lavar Johnson. “Big” was recently cut from Zuffa employ after a failed drug test at UFC 157. That, coupled with his bad performance against Brendan Schaub had him packing his things for Bellator. There isn't any secret what the 36 year old fighter is going to do every time he steps into competition and he doesn't want it any other way. With 15 knockout victories to his name fans should keep a close eye on this fight to see if he adds to that number.
Vinicius Kappke de Queiroz is another former UFC competitor who will fight this weekend but it will be his third time performing for Bellator MMA where he has gone 1-1. After a one fight stint in the Octagon, Vinicius was shuttled off from Zuffa. At 30 years of age he holds a meager 6-3 record with all six of his wins coming by form of stoppage. Johnson has shown a weakness to fighters who can take him to the ground so do not be surprised if the Brazilian fighter looks to get this fight to the mat and get it there quickly.
The fight to watch for this evening will be the Bantamweight Summer Series final between Rafael Silva and Anthony Leone. With 23 stoppages between them, both of these individuals are expected to bring a fast paced bout to this card. With Eduardo Dantas watching who will become his next challenger, this fight has the potential to be the bout that catches all of the attention and easily steals the show.
Silva is a proven finisher as he's stopped his last six opponents. The Brazilian fighter who has spent most of his career competing in his home country mixes up kicks and punches very well but is equally dangerous if the fight hits the floor.
On the mat is where Leone is at his best. His grappling abilities have helped him submit two of his last four opponents while grinding out decision victories over the others. While he doesn't have the most exciting style, he has the abilities to ground and control Silva enough to win this fight. If he can drag his opponent down and maintain position it will quickly become a long night for both Silva and possibly those watching.
Bellator 102 is a card in which Bellator MMA has put it together with the hopes it creates some highlight reel knockouts. Since the heavyweight division is their weakest group, both Johnson and Kongo were placed in match ups where they will be the overwhelming favorite. Still, the last few weeks of Bellator cards have given at least one or two good fights so this event should not be quickly overlooked.