Kongo Is an Even Bigger Underdog this Time
When Cheick Kongo last fought Ryan Bader, he was already a 2-1 underdog by the Bellator MMA odds. An eye poke – cut that bout short but now the Frenchman reenters as an even bigger dog despite fighting in his native France and coming off a big submission victory. Can Kongo capture the championship that has eluded him for over 20 years?
Let’s check the latest news, stats, injury reports, and Bellator odds for Bader vs Kongo 2. We’ve plenty of predictions for you to consider.
Bader Has Plenty Left in The Tank
Despite our best efforts to fade Ryan Bader, he proved us wrong by turning back Valentin Moldavsky to retain his title. At 38 years old, the former two-time NCAA Division I All-American keeps going. At 38, he may as well be 28. Bader will always have his prolific wrestling background to give him an edge.
Going against Cheick Kongo, Bader is fighting a fellow veteran who is up there in age. Bader will wear out Kongo by mixing up his wrestling, something the French kickboxer has struggled with in his MMA career.
Bader’s durability is still an issue. While he has a better chin at heavyweight, Bader can ill-afford to take too many clean shots from Kongo – who has flattened another wrestler in Tim Johnson (he did lose the rematch though). So long as Bader can make this fight more of a grappling contest, he should walk away with his belt.
Long Road for Kongo
Cheick Kongo made his professional MMA debut back in 2001, seven years before Bellator MMA came into existence. Ryan Bader had just turned 18 and was winning wrestling state championships for Robert McQueen High School.
Kongo is aging like a fine wine. He has won nine of his last 11 bouts handing former Bellator champion Vitaly Minakov his first loss while also turning back current UFC fighters Augusto Sakai and Alexander Volkov.
👀 on the 👑@Kongo4Real looks to become king of the heavyweights this Friday in Paris!
Bader 🆚 Kongo 2 | Friday, May 6th | @SHOSports#BellatorParis #Bellator280 pic.twitter.com/GDnKwGtrO3
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) May 3, 2022
Kongo has developed his MMA game and is competent almost everywhere the fight goes. His weakness is still his defensive wrestling as evidenced by his losses: decisions against Johnson and Muhammad Lawal. If Kongo has sharpened his wrestling enough, he may be worth betting online for an upset.
Bader vs Kongo 2 Head-to-Head
The optics aren’t good for Cheick Kongo in this rematch hence why his price went up 75 cents. He was getting dominated by Bader on the mat and many will see the eyepoke as a way out for Kongo. If the odds are correct, it may be more of the same here.
Bader vs Kongo 2 Fight Information
- Fight: Bader (c) (29-7-0) vs Kongo (31-11-2)
- Location: Accor Arena
- Day/Time: Friday, May 6th. 1:00 p.m. ET
- Bader vs Kongo 2 Live Stream: Bellator Live
Bader vs Kongo 2 Betting Lines
Bader vs Kongo 2 Prediction
From a picks perspective, we’re rolling with Ryan Bader to dominate Cheick Kongo on the mat. While Kongo can use wrestling against non-wrestlers, he gets beaten by legitimate wrestlers like Bader. With the current price on the sportsbook, it may be worth taking a shot on the dog.
Kongo packs a punch and can hurt Bader when he catches him. Wait a bit to see if you can land a better price on Kongo as most of the action is on the champion. Moreover, we don’t see this fight lasting too long as either Kongo knocks Bader out in the first three rounds or Bader beats him up on the mat within the same timeframe.
Pick: Under 2½ (-125)
Pick: Cheick Kongo +325