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Bellator MMA announces Heavyweight Grand Prix alternates

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Cheick Kongo
Cheick Kongo
Esther Lin

Bellator 192: “Rampage vs Sonnen” took place this past weekend (Sat., Jan. 20, 2018) at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., featuring the opening round of the promotion’s Heavyweight Grand Prix that saw Chael Sonnen advance to the second round via unanimous decision over Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.

Over the course of the weekend, Bellator MMA President Scott Coker announced two alternates for the Grand Prix in the event that a tournament fighter is injured before (or after) his fight. And it will be Cheick Kongo (27-10-2) and Javy Ayala (10-6) who will be on standby if something — or someone — goes sideways.

It was a mild surprise that Kongo wasn’t in the tournament to begin with (check out the bracket right here). The veteran Heavyweight has plenty of high-level experience in both Bellator and UFC, reeling off five straight wins and seven of his last eight overall, with his only recent loss being a split decision against Muhammed Lawal in 2015.

Ayala, meanwhile, was probably a long shot to get into the Grand Prix, but his record does include a win over a former Heavyweight tournament winner in Eric Prindle, and a former PRIDE legend in Sergei Kharitonov, whom he knocked out in just 16 seconds in 2016.

The next leg of the tournament will take place at Bellator 194 on Feb. 16, 2018, when former The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) rivals Roy Nelson and Matt Mitrione rematch a fight Nelson won via technical knockout several years ago.

To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.