The former has been slowly but steadily rising up through the heavyweight division, undefeated in his young mixed martial arts career and getting better and better each time out. The latter is considered a gatekeeper to bigger and better things.
He proved exactly why tonight by grinding his way past the rising star. Kongo may not be headed for a title shot any time soon, but he just made sure that Mitrione isn't either.
That's because he earned the unanimous decision win after an ugly 15 minutes.
This one started the way many Anderson Silva fights do. Two minutes into the first round a total of four punches had been thrown, not one of which connected.
Finally, Mitrione came in strong leading to, you guessed, a clinch that was only broken up by the referee, who nearly tripped over the monotony on his way in. Both fighters smiled at each other throughout the round, clearly enjoying the game of cat-and-mouse, feinting back and forth.
The fans were unhappy, though.
The second round saw a lot more action, both fighters finally electing to let their hands go a bit. Still, it was stop and start, stop and start, for five minutes and the fans were restless. No one can blame them.
Kongo executed a takedown in the third and final frame, working some ground and pound that resulted in a nasty cut above Mitrione's left eye. Another takedown from the Frenchman was enough to win him the round and ultimately, the fight.
It wasn't pretty but it worked.