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4 talking points from Bellator 226: Bader vs. Kongo

Scott Newman
SENIOR ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
08 Sep 2019, 14:48 IST

Ryan Bader's fight with Cheick Kongo ended in unfortunate fashion due to an eye poke
Ryan Bader's fight with Cheick Kongo ended in unfortunate fashion due to an eye poke

Bellator 226 went down last night from San Jose, California, and although the show had the misfortune to be on the same date as a huge UFC show – UFC 242 – meaning there wasn’t much fanfare coming in, it turned out to be a pretty fun show overall, until the main event at least.

The show marked the beginning of Bellator’s Featherweight Grand Prix, and all four of the fights from the opening round were pretty good. The less said about the outcome of the main event – a Bellator Heavyweight title match between Ryan Bader and Cheick Kongo – though, the better.

Here are 4 talking points from Bellator 226: Bader vs. Kongo.

#1 Was this the most unfortunate main event of 2019?

The fight between Bader and Kongo was declared a No Contest
The fight between Bader and Kongo was declared a No Contest

MMA is undoubtedly one of the most unpredictable sports in the world, but unfortunately, that’s not always a good thing. 2019’s big UFC main events have all thankfully gone smoothly thus far, and obviously last night’s UFC 242 main event was pretty climactic as Khabib Nurmagomedov finished off Dustin Poirier. Unfortunately, Bellator hasn’t been that lucky.

February’s Bellator 215 show saw its main event end in a No Contest after Sergei Kharitonov took an accidental low blow from Matt Mitrione and was unable to continue, but last night’s main event between Ryan Bader and Cheick Kongo somehow ended in even stranger fashion.

Bader was dominating the fight on the ground, assaulting Kongo with powerful strikes from the top, but in the process of looking to set up a D’Arce choke on the Frenchman, he accidentally thumbed him in the eye. After being checked by the cageside doctor, Kongo was judged to be unable to continue, and the fight was declared a No Contest.

Obviously this wasn’t Bellator’s fault – these things happen in MMA and a similar ending could easily take place in the UFC – but it was horrendous luck for the world’s second-biggest MMA promotion, and left a black eye – no pun intended – on the show overall.

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