In a fight that failed to live up to it’s full potential Cheick Kongo came out on top against Matt Mitrione, handing the TUF product the first loss of his professional career.
Both men were exceptionally cautious in the first round, with Mitrone taking the center of the Octagon but neither landing anything signifcant.
Kongo pressed Mitrione against the cage at one stage, but Mitrione simply hung on until the referee split them up. Towards the end of the round Kongo looked for a kick to the body, but Mitrione caught it and knocked him over.
The pace picked up a little in the second round with Kongo starting to make good use of his leg kicks, though to his credit Mitrione was checking some of them.
For his part Mitrione was stalking his opponent, but still wasn’t letting his hands go with the frequency that some may have expected. On a couple of occasions he did connect though including a late flurry that was cut short by the bell.
Kongo came out more aggressively in the third and after striding forward with a barrage of strikes he locked up and dumped Mitrione to the mat. A brief spell of ground and pound followed, opening up a cut below Mitrione’s left eye before he got back to his feet.
Up against the cage Kongo waited patiently before again getting Mitrione to the mat and controlled his opponent for the rest of the round.
The third round was big for Kongo while the first two were close, but the judges are sure of their winner with Kongo earning a unanimous decision win (30-27, 30-28, 29-28).
Overall a disappointing fight, with Mitrione in particular sure to rue the fact that he didn’t let his hands go earlier in the fight, while also discovering that his ground game is in need of work.