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Bellator 226 ‘Bader vs Kongo’ recap with results, .gifs and ‘Cyborg’ interview

Bellator 226 ‘Bader vs Kongo’ aired Sat. night (Sept. 7, 2019) from SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. MMA Mania brings you a post-fight recap, results, .gifs and interviews from a card with a Heavyweight title fight main event!

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Bader vs Kongo
Bellator 226
Bellator MMA

Bellator 226: “Bader vs. Kongo” aired last night (Sat., Sept. 7, 2019) on DAZN from SAP Center in San Jose, California. “Champ-champ” Ryan Bader (27-5) put his Heavyweight title on the line against experienced 44 year old veteran Cheick “The Darkness” Kongo (30-10-2), winner of his last eight fights in a row.

Unfortunately this fight had a poor ending. Bader had been dominating in the stand up with left hands, hit a blast double leg to ground Kongo, transitioned to full mount, and then Kongo scooted his way backward to the fence. While Kongo was sitting up against the cage and trying to get back up he took a thumb to the left eye, referee Mike Beltran stopped the fight. Because Kongo couldn’t see and Beltran ruled it an accidental foul, the bout ended in a no contest at 3:52 of Round 1. Bader retained the Heavyweight title and spoke to John McCarthy.

“You’re in the heat of the battle there. Fingers go into the eye all of the time. It was unintentional. If it did go into the eye I’m sorry. It is what it is.”

The opening round of the Featherweight Grand Prix was a part of this card as well and former champion Daniel Straus (26-8) went against Derek Campos (19-9). Straus slipped throwing a kick in the first round, Campos swarmed him immediately, and nothing went Straus’ way the rest of the fight. Campos kept taking him down, moving to mount, and pouring on shots at the end of each round. In the third round Straus managed to get up with 30 seconds left but got rocked and may have dislocated or injured an arm in the process. The judges saw it 30-26 and 30-25 X2 all for Campos.

“Yes sir Big John I knew I had to come in here and bring my whole game against Daniel Straus. After that initial sequence I knew something was wrong so I pounced and took it from there. Yeah I’m a little bit crazy, that’s just the West Texas in me coming out. I said let’s get up throw some hands and give the people what they want. Next round it’s going to be old school Derek Campos. San Jose, y’all are awesome, y’all are cool as shit.”

The loaded tournament also featured two time champion Pat Curran (23-8) looking to bounce back to form, but the undefeated Adam Borics (13-0) would not make it easy. He controlled the center of the Bellator cage and punished Curran with leg kicks and sharp jabs. Curran seemed to be a step slower at every stage of the first frame.

The crowd was nonplussed by the pace of round two, but Borics was steadily doing damage with leg kicks, body shots, and jabs. Just as they were ready to start booing again with a minute left, Borics connected with a flying knee and jumped on Curran on the ground. With short time left he began to pour on damage on top, Frank Trigg warned Curran to fight back, and the fight was stopped right before the bell at 4:59 of R2.

After the result was made official Borics spoke to “Big” John McCarthy.

“We just getting started. I am not like a guy who is just punch kicking, I am thinking. I had a game plan and I followed that. It worked. You know I felt the moment, I have a chance to finish, and I am a finisher. I am always looking for the finish. He never been finished, but I did (it).”

A match between Sam Sicilia (17-9) and Pedro Carvalho (10-3) was on tap in the tournament, with Carvalho coming in the winner of five straight fights. While the first round was almost evenly split between highlights for both men, the second round went solidly in Carvalho’s favor thanks to relentless body kicks and overpowering Sicilia’s halfhearted takedown attempt. Once he had Sicilia down he secured a tight face crank for the tap at 1:56. After advancing to the second round Carvalho spoke to John McCarthy.

“This what I’ve been saying all this time. I am the best fighter in the world and all I ask for is opportunities. Every time Bellator gave me a chance I never said no, no matter how much time to train or the opponent. I’m not only the future, I’m the present. {*John Kavanagh presents him with a purple belt*} I asked my coach if I get a submission do I get a purple belt? I think so. I think I did enough today.”

To fill some time on the broadcast Cris “Cyborg” Justino came out for an interview too.

“Thanks to Scott Coker, Cyborg Nation, we are officially in the Bellator business. I’m very thankful everyone came here, I made history here with Scott Coker, I feel very emotional walking here because this arena made the story ten years ago. I start here and I’m going to finish here. My goal now, the only thing worth fighting for is a world title, and (Budd) holds the belt, and Cyborg Nation is gonna be with me.”

Seeking a road back to title contention, “El Matador” Emmanuel Sanchez (18-4) stepped into the grand prix with the undefeated prospect Tywan Claxton (5-0).

Claxton was scoring with takedowns throughout the first round, but he wasn’t able to do any damage from the top, and when Sanchez hit his own late takedown he poured on nasty hammerfists to the bell.

The second round saw Claxton go for another takedown and immediately put himself in danger of a triangle choke. Sanchez let it go, but that was only because he wanted to get a better position. Once he secured it and started pulling down on Claxton’s head, he made “Air” Claxton even more miserable with an onslaught of elbows to the head. Claxton ultimately couldn’t take the choke any longer and tapped out at 4:11 of round two.

Sanchez advanced in the Featherweight Grand Prix and spoke to John McCarthy afterward.

“Jiu-jitsu saves lives baby, jiu-jitsu saves lives. Where’s the submission bonus man? I just shared the locker room with three guys I already faced, one has a win over me, the other two not so great, but it was an honor to share the cage with Tywan Claxton. In order to be the best I have to beat the best, now it’s just three more to go baby.”

Outside of the tournament a featured Featherweight fight saw “The Dreamkiller” Gaston Bolanos (5-1) take on Daniel Carey (5-3).

Despite Bolanos being a feature of Bellator highlight reels, “Scary” Carey showed no fear and transitioned to a guillotine choke when the two tied up against the fence. Mike Beltran repeatedly asked Bolanos to “show me you’re there” and when he didn’t the technical submission came at 4:19 of Round 1.

As soon as the result was made official, Carey had a lot to say to John McCarthy.

“As soon as I got the head and arm position, I knew it was over. That’s why I was smiling and nodding at my corner. I admire (Bolanos), he’s a great man, but I knew there was no way I was going to lose. I’m with a new team and I’m fucking ready. I want to call out somebody. Chael Sonnen — come catch these hands boy!”

Mauro Ranallo quipped that would be unlikely given he’s “in a different weight class.” I’d say it’s unlike since Sonnen is retired from MMA.

For complete Bellator 226 results and coverage click here.