Cheick Guillaume Ouedraogo fights for a title. The results are disappointing but the fouls are exhilarating.
If you have missed the previous installments of this series, click here.
On Saturday, Cheick Kongo, the patron saint of Kadowaki Special, will once again return to the Bellator cage to further his legacy as one of the greatest craftsmen of this or any other decade. To celebrate this event, we will return to the massive but necessary task of documenting each and every one of Kongo’s fights.
We again return to Rings Holland, this time for a fight against Rodney Glunder, known at this time as Rodney Faverus. Glunder had some hype as an exciting fighter back in the day, in the same vein as Melvin Manhoef, albeit it with even less in-ring success. In a lot of ways, he is, simply put, a less successful Manhoef. Slights and backhanded compliments aside, this fight is for the vacant European Title, whose lineage either traces all the way back to The British Bulldog’s 1997 tournament victory in Germany, or it’s a meaningless regional belt used to heighten the significance of a fight, how can we really know for sure.
As the fight begins, Kongo’s size difference is already apparent, he stands nearly a head taller than Glunder and holds a significant weight advantage. Perhaps because of this, Glunder spends the early portion of the fight throwing, and landing, outside low kicks. After a few kicks land, Kongo already seems tentative, lifting his lead leg regularly in the hopes of checking a kick via some combination of serendipity and the law of averages. It proves ineffective. Kongo goes for an inside low kick and Glunder grabs it, pushes Kongo toward the ropes, grabs double underhooks, and takes Kongo down. Well, he really just falls on top of him, but you get the idea.
Glunder seemingly just hops into full mount mere moments after this takedown, although its hard to tell because the camera focuses mostly on Kongo’s face. Look, I get it, he’s a handsome dude, but I’d really like to see two Dutch kickboxers grapple. Glunder is in mount for just a brief second until Kongo bucks, turns, briefly works a whizzer, and then gets the fight back standing. For a guy who just got taken down by Rodney Glunder, Kongo’s wrestling has always been an underrated aspect of his game.
Kongo is holding on to Glunder’s arm in the Aoki-Wisniewski position, which allows for Glunder to land some knees to the body of Kongo. The Foul Gawd™ doesn’t release the arm and Glunder leverages his body weight against Kongo’s back to forces the fighter back down to the mat. Kongo is able to lockdown Glunder’s other arm and stall from this position until the referee stands up the fighters.
Back on their feet, Glunder goes back to the low kicks, which causes Kongo to close the distance and press Glunder toward the ropes. From here Kongo is able to use his size advantage to get the better of the exchanges, he lands some solid knees, including an especially good one, right to the groin.
This is actually quite an auspicious occasion, the first groin strike in Kongo’s career, in this his first title fight and the biggest fight of his career to this point. Years from this point, this would become a trademark of his offense, but here The Foul Gawd™ is still learning.
After Glunder takes a short break, both fighters come out swinging, throwing a heavy volume of strikes, in a short amount of time they throw more strikes than they had in the entire fight up to that point Glunder throws a thigh kick, Kongo rallies with a flurry of punches, goes to throw a body kick, which Glunder catches, pushes Kongo off, and uses the distance to throw a flying knee. This will prove to be the most substantial offensive of the fight.
Kongo, trying to get a reprieve from Glunder’s strikes, goes for a takedown and presses Glunder up agaisnt the ropes, but Glunder thwarts the attempt. Kongo lands a knee from the clinch before the two fighters break. The two continue to exchange strikes, Kongo lands a solid knee and counters a flying knee with a low kick of all things.
Kongo capitalizes from the scramble and ends up in Glunder’s half guard. But, as is often the theme in these fights, nothing much of consequence happens and the fighters are stood up. For the first time in the fight, Kongo is able to use his height and reach advantage to keep Glunder at bay, peppering him with leg kicks and punches from a distance. Kongo closes the distance and stalls in the corner until the end of the round.
The fight resumes with both fighters throwing tentative strikes until Kongo presses Glunder into the corner yet again. Kongo doesn’t do much of anything from here, Glunder throws some ineffective strikes from here, but hey, he’s out there trying.
Kongo is able to wrestle Glunder down to the mat eventually and passes to mount with little effort, but guess what happens? EVERYBODY TOGETHER NOW: He does nothing and gets stood up. After the standup, Glunder comes out throwing heat, including a wild overhand right that might have murdered a man if he hadn’t sent out a parade notifying Kongo it was coming. Glunder throws some more wild strikes, but none of them land. Eventually Kongo, gets another takedown, but seconds after they hit the mat, the ref stands the fighters up.
Both fighters are tired, Glunder is using his remaining energy to throw wild killshots and Kongo is using it to get futile takedowns. Kongo ends up getting two more takedowns that are stood up, Glunder lands a sturdy left hook that doesn’t faze Kongo, but finally near the end of Round 2, we get some more of what we came for, another groin shot.
There have been plenty of reasons to penalize Kongo in this fight, but this is something I cannot abide. A fighter being penalized for fouling in an MMA fight? Have you ever heard of such a thing? Preposterous.
After the foul stoppage, the fight returns to form, a dissapointing form, but a form nonetheless. Glunder is throwing heavy strikes, a few of them even land and Kongo is stalling, looking for a takedown that never materializes. The bell rings and we come to the end of the fight. We got to witness 2 beautiful fouls from The Foul Gawd™ and we get a look at a beautiful championship belt.
However, our hero Cheick Guillaume Ouedraogo was unable to claim such an exquisite prize on this night, it would appear that the yellow card in Round 2 hurt Kongo. A rouge referee, high on power, went beyond his position to extract a point from a fighter for a strike that is never penalized, and it cost Kongo the title here.
I’ve petitioned this man, who I assume is the promoter, but my Dutch is poor, so who knows who I’ve been in contact with.
Now for the pertinent stats from this unfortunate event. 2 fouls, 1 loss, and an image that will sting forever.
Running Count: 2 eye pokes, 2 groin strikes, 1 strike after the bell, and now 2 wins.
Also, for a show named Saved by the Bell, there is a infuriating lack of references to that restaurant that was run by a magician. The disappointments are never ending.