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After a longtime MMA ban was lifted in France, Bellator MMA had the honour of being the first major promotion to host mixed martial arts in the country. Last night Bellator Europe 10 took place in Paris, with a small crowd, and featured a heavyweight headliner with a hometown favourite.
New era of French MMA opens with a kick in the balls
The main event saw veteran big boys Cheick Kongo and Timothy Johnson duke it out with hopes of advancing towards Bellator heavyweight champion Ryan Bader (whom Kongo fought to a No Contest last September).
Kongo vs. Johnson was a rematch, the first installment came in 2018 and saw the Paris-born Kongo win with a quick KO. This time, though, their fight would go the whole three rounds.
In the first Johnson was able to rush Kongo to the mat and hit him with heavy ground and pound. Kongo would make it to his feet, but wasn’t able to reverse the course against the American. While standing Johnson was able to control Kongo against the cage and punish his legs with knees.
In the second Johnson worked his striking from distance, which seemed to unsettle and fluster Kongo. Johnson was then able to pin Kongo back up against the cage and land another takedown. Kongo was able to respond with a takedown of his own, but wasn’t able to keep Johnson down. In the latter half of the round Kongo swung for the fences, landing a few crisp shots on Johnson. Johnson threw some haymakers back, but was unable to find his target.
In the third and final round Kongo tried to repeat his striking success from the end of the second. He was able to land, but wasn’t able to put his opponent out. After eating some shots, Johnson landed a big punch of his own and then forced Kongo back to the fence. Grueling clinch work followed with Johnson having the most control and landing more strikes.
The close contest ended in a split decision in favour of Johnson. The victor then called out Ryan Bader.
The other fight on the two-fight main card was Saul Rogers vs. Arbi Mezhidov. it didn’t last long, with the former TUF finalist getting the submission at the end of round 1.
On the undercard Yves Landu made a name for himself with a flying knee KO and one of the wildest celebrations ever seen in an MMA cage.
Bellator Europe 10 Full results:
Heavyweight: Timothy Johnson def. Cheick Kongo via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28).
Featherweight: Saul Rogers def. Arbi Mezhidov via submission (rear naked choke), round 1 (4:38).
Lightweight: Yves Landu def. Terry Brazier via KO (flying knee), round 1 (2:18).
Featherweight: Fabacary Diatta def. Dominique Wooding via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-17).
Flyweight: Lucie Bertaud def. Maguy Berchel via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-26, 30-26).
Featherweight: Cirian Clarke def. Jean N’Doye via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27).
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