“Caveman” Rickels Gets KO Win at Home in Kansas

*Written on Location- Kansas Star Arena, Mulvane KS

On this night, it’s the Kansas Star Casino that is the last sign of the outside world. It’s the neighboring Kansas Star Arena that matters--the gallery for an exhibition by Picassos that paint exclusively with hemoglobin, the setting for the next chapter of Lion vs. Gazelle.

David Rickels entered that arena to the loudest reaction of the night. Under a sea of flashing red light, Rickels then successfully rebounded from his Bellator 145 loss in St. Louis to “Iron” Michael Chandler with one clinch knee and old-school “G ‘n’ P” (ground and pound) a la Tito Ortiz or Mark Coleman.

Rickels aims for the fences with a headkick that’s avoided, but gets caught with a left hook. A second attempt is met with a right from “Super Duper” Bobby Cooper. Rickels mirrors the movement. A clinch knee shuffles Cooper’s organs briefly. Leg kicks precede knees from Rickels that keep Advil in Cooper’s medicine cabinet.

Cooper falters, bleeding, looking for coverage from the storm he’s found himself. Second’s later Rickels earns the winner’s purse.

David Rickels def. Bobby Cooper via KO- 3:49 of Round 1

Main Card

Cheick Kongo vs. Vinicius “Spartan” Kappke De Queiroz

A week-long battle with the flu may have forced Marcos Galvao and the scheduled Bellator Bantamweight championship bout off the card, but a hunt is a hunt.

In what was technically the main event, France’s Cheick Kongo (a UFC veteran aligned with Bellator since 2013) is one of many that is looking to make the Heavyweight division a major player in the organization again. With Galvao and opponent Eduardo Dantas’ main event rematch pulled from Bellator 150 just 24 hours beforehand, Kongo was given that opportunity.

The current top dog in the division, Vitaly Minakov is 5-0 in Bellator (17-0 overall) but a contractual disagreement has kept Minakov absent from Bellator since Bellator 115 on April 4, 2014 when he last fought--Cheick Kongo.

“For myself, he lost the belt two years ago. He hasn’t been defeated by anyone, but the time he’s gone he lost it. The belt should be back on the table. That’s the only thing I know now. It doesn’t make sense. He shouldn’t be able to come back and say, ‘I’m still the champ.’ You’re still the champ, but you should fight to get it.”

Vinicius Spartan opened the battle as a master “chess player” getting his timing down and trying to anticipate Kongo’s movement. A full minute and a half passes without action. They clinch and as they separate, Kongo goes southpaw before following up with a number of front kicks (the move that is probably Anderson Silva’s greatest highlight from his clash with Vitor Belfort.) They duel in close a second time, but Spartan circles out and get the inside leg trip despite being a victim of knees in the process.

Kongo pops up. A takedown is ultimately avoided by Spartan and the bell rings.

By now Kongo is aware that for the most part, if he goes low he will not be met with much resistance. CLACK!-- another kick. Now it’s Kongo looking more aggressive. Even as he’s being back up by his Brazilian counterpart, he still landing, scoring points, and Spartan just keeps walking into him

A spinning backfist gets Spartan nothing but he does find success with another leg trip. He lands a few strikes but doesn’t manage to get full mount position before the bell.

Kongo begins again with kicks and unleashes a right behind that. Spartan counteracts that by dropping down and forcing the action to the mat. Kongo makes his way back up, defends a takedown, rushing his man--yet another example of Bull vs. Matador.

A right hook from Kongo serves as a lead into another clinch, but the physical chess matches fails to result in a change of position and referee “Big John” McCarthy forces a separation. One misstep and Spartan pops Kongo with a right hand. It looks like things are about to finish up, but Kongo regains his composure and remains active on bottom.

A leg kick is followed by the last bell.

Cheick Kongo def. Vinicius “Spartan” Kappke De Queiroz via Split Decision

(30-27, 29-28, 28-29)

Kendall Grove vs. Francisco France

UFC and Ultimate Fighter alumn, Kendall “Da’ Spyder” Grove entered into the most manly of proving grounds at 3-2 in Bellator. He left with his arms raised and his opponent, Francisco France down and out.

The product of Maui, Hawaii starts in with kicks (remember that the legs feed the wolf) with nowhere to go, with his back literally against the wall, the face of France became well acquainted with Grove’s knuckles courtesy of a right straight punch in crystal-clear HD.

France counter a right from Grove with a high kick, but it doesn’t find the mark. Grove takes some time to pick his next spot and decides on France’s temple and throws a left hook. A temple shot has the ability to leave many fighters staring up at the lights but Frances trudges on and makes his “dance partner” backstep to the fence.

After a knee goes low, the duo regroup. France lands a leg kick, the last major blow before the bell sounds. At this point, Groves has shaken off the cobwebs as France lunges for him--big mistake.

35 seconds into the next go round, Grove channeled all his emotion from losing his brother on the day of the fight, dropping his target with a right bomb of an uppercut from somewhere in deep space. From there Grove again attacks the temple, this time finishing the job.

Grove unloads a pair of knees and looks to do more damage, but by this time temporary rigor mortis has already set in.

Kendall Grove def. Francisco France via KO- 0:35 of Round 2

-Chuka Willis def. Gaston Reyno via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Rebecca Ruth vs. Lena Ovchynnikova

See local article-- Ruth Gets Nod in Bellator Debut