On Friday, Nov. 8, Bellator hosted its 107th event from the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla.

In the night’s main event, UFC veteran Cheick Kongo clashed with hard-hitting kickboxer Peter Graham in the season-nine heavyweight tournament finals. The Frenchman, Kongo, made a successful promotional debut in October, besting Mark Godbeer at Bellator 102. Australia’s Graham, meanwhile, also made a triumphant first appearance in the Bellator cage, outlasting Bellator veteran Eric Prindle at Bellator 104. Each looked to claim the $100,000 prize and a guaranteed title shot.

Also on the main card, two additional tournament champions were crowned as former featherweight champion Joe Warren battled Travis Marx in the bantamweight final and middleweights Mikkel Parlo and Brennan Ward clashed for a chance to face current champion Alexander Shlemenko.

In addition to the three tournament finals, veteran lightweight Patricky Freire faced off with Edson Berto.

The action kicked off at 7 p.m. ET with six fights live on Spike.com. The four-fight main card aired live on Spike TV beginning at 9 p.m. ET.

Cheick Kongo vs. Peter Graham – heavyweight tournament final

Cheick Kongo dominated Peter Graham to earn a future shot at the Bellator heavyweight championship.

Kongo caught a leg kick from Graham right at the beginning of this heavyweight bout. Kongo caught another low kick and fired back with a right hand. Kongo got a bit aggressive and landed two knees within the clinch. There was only a short explosion and Graham went back to being the fighter walking forward. The referee paused the fight for a low blow that didn’t really look like it landed. Kongo connected with a body kick when the fight resumed. Kongo remained active and landed a right hand. The two clinched and Graham pressed Kongo up against the cage. Graham missed with a spinning back fist at the end of the round.

Kongo came out ready to strike at the beginning of round two. He landed a nice combination highlighted by a right hand and an inside leg kick. Kongo continued to connect with punches and opened up a cut near Graham’s left eye. Graham landed a right hand that wobbled Kongo a bit. Kongo recovered nicely and became the aggressor once again. Kongo got the clinch and connected with some knees on a tiring Graham. Graham tried to throw Kongo to the ground, but was not able to do so. Kongo pressed Graham against the cage and started to open up from the clinch. Kongo even scored an easy takedown to end the round.

Both heavyweights looked a bit spent to begin the third and final round. Kongo began to throw out some push kicks, but none really landed solidly. Kongo started landing the better punches once again before going for the takedown. Kongo got that takedown and went right into full mount. He landed a great elbow right on the cut near Graham’s eye. Graham rolled and gave up his back. Kongo looked for a submission, but Graham scrambled and got back to his feet. Kongo still had Graham pressed up against the fence and was able to get a takedown once again. Kongo just remained on top and landed body shots until the final bell sounded.

Travis Marx vs. Joe Warren – bantamweight tournament final

Joe Warren knocked out Travis Marx with a knee to get his second Bellator tournament title.

Marx landed an inside leg kick to start this tournament final. Warren quickly got a hold of Marx and dragged him to the ground. Warren controlled for a bit, but Marx was able to get to his feet and land a good knee to the body in the clinch. The two separated and Marx missed with a winging punch. Warren grabbed a hold of Marx once again and slammed him to the ground. Warren moved into half guard and began to open up with some punches. Warren smothered Marx with his top control for the remainder of the round.

Warren landed a solid left hook to begin the second stanza. Warren then went back to his wrestling and brought the fight to the ground. Marx worked his way back to his feet, but Warren threw a huge knee. The knee dropped Marx. Warren followed up with a few strikes and that was it.

Mikkel Parlo vs. Brennan Ward – middleweight tournament final

Brennan Ward TKO’d Mikkel Parlo to earn $100,000 and a middleweight title shot.

Ward looked to close the distance right off the bat. Parlo stuck him with a few punches and defended the first two takedown attempts. Parlo even reversed and put Ward’s back up against the cage. Parlo continued to try to drag Ward to the ground, but he was not able to do so and Ward eventually separated. Ward landed a good counter left hand and went in for another takedown. Parlo defended it once again and turned Ward and pushed him up against the cage again. The two got back to the center of the cage and Ward went for another takedown. The same thing happened, as he was turned and pressed into the fence.

Parlo landed an outside leg kick at the outset of the second round. Parlo’s best punch continued to be his left jab. Parlo continued to connect to the now bloodied nose of Ward. Ward then landed with a huge straight left. Parlo grabbed Ward and tried to clinch, but Ward unloaded with huge right uppercuts to the body. Ward continued with unanswered punches against the fence and the referee had seen enough.

Derek Campos vs. Martin Stapleton

Derek Campos earned a unanimous decision over Martin Stapleton to extend his winning streak to four fights.

Campos landed three left hands right out of the gate to start the main card. Campos continued to wing the left hooks, but eventually got a hold of Stapleton and landed a body-lock takedown. Campos was right into side control and looked to advance to mount. Stapleton was able to shrimp out and return to his feet. Stapleton looked to establish his striking game with a jab and leg kicks, but Campos continued to connect with the left hand. Stapleton narrowly missed on an uppercut that caused him to slip. Campos did not pounce and Stapleton bounced right back to his feet. Campos went for another takedown and got it. He took  Stapleton’s back and began to look for an armbar. Stapleton fought it off and ended the round on the feet.

Campos landed that left hook once again to start the second round. He briefly took down the Englishman once again, but Stapleton returned to his feet quickly. Campos switched up his striking a bit and threw a left hook to the body this time. Campos then connected on a big right hand stepping in. Campos closed the distance and pressed his opponent against the cage, but he was not able to complete the takedown this time. Campos then landed a right hand as Stapleton was coming in and used the punch to get the fight to the ground. Stapleton avoided damage by controlling Campos’ posture for the remainder of the round.

The first strike landed in the third round was once again the left hook from Campos. Stapleton faked an elbow strike and landed a solid leg kick. Campos stuck Stapleton with a right hand coming in once again. Campos followed that up with a takedown, but Stapleton again got back to his feet with relative ease. He couldn’t keep it there for long, as Campos used the body lock for the takedown once again. Stapleton looked to land some elbows from the bottom to worsen a small cut on Campos. Stapleton did a good job of controlling the posture, but Campos exploded into a transition to the back. Stapleton rolled over and Campos ended up in the full mount. Campos landed some solid elbows and ended the fight on top.

FULL RESULTS
Cheick Kongo def. Peter Graham by unanimous decision (30-27×3) – season-nine heavyweight tournament final
Joe Warren def. Travis Marx by TKO (knee and punches). Round 2, 1:54 – season-nine bantamweight tournament final
Brennan Ward def. Mikkel Parlo by TKO (punches). Round 2, 1:39 – season-nine middleweight tournament final
Patricky Freire def. Edson Berto by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
Derek Campos def. Martin Stapleton by unanimous decision (30-27×3)
Jonas Billstein def. Cortez Coleman by unanimous decision (30-27×3)
Linton Vassell def. Matt Jones by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
Mike Mucitelli def. Ryan McCurdy by unanimous decision (30-27×3)
Raphael Butler def. Josh Burns by verbal submission (strikes). Round 1, 2:14
Chris Jones def. Robert White by unanimous decision (29-28×3)

Photo: Cheick Kongo (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Trey Downey
Staff Writer

A Central Florida native, Trey Downey's interest in MMA came after a trip to Blockbuster and the rental of UFC 47 on VHS. He has been blogging about the sport since 2011 and hosted a podcast called The TD Experience focusing on football and MMA (touchdowns and takedowns). Trey studied radio and television at the University of Central Florida and will soon be attending the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Trey enjoys watching sports, pro wrestling and is an avid runner.