A heavyweight No. 1 contender bout between Vitaly Minakov and Cheick Kongo is official for Bellator’s Feb. 16 event.
The promotion confirmed the booking on Wednesday. The event takes place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. and is headlined by a welterweight grand prix quarterfinal matchup between Paul Daley and Michael Page. The card is part of a Bellator doubleheader that begins one day prior at the same venue. The Minakov-Kongo winner will eventually face the winner of the heavyweight grand prix finale between Ryan Bader and Fedor Emelianenko, scheduled for Jan. 26.
Minakov took a five-round verdict over Kongo as the promotion’s reigning heavyweight champion at Bellator 115 in April 2014. Incidentally, that was also the Russian’s last appearance with Bellator as well as the last heavyweight title bout within the promotion. Minakov was eventually stripped for inactivity but re-signed with the organization earlier this year. He has won seven straight bouts under the Fight Nights Global banner since then and is 21-0 as a professional overall.
Kongo has won nine of 10 bouts in Bellator since that defeat to Minakov. That includes back-to-back knockout victories over Timothy Johnson and Javy Ayala in 2018. The Frenchman is 11-2 in the California-based promotion and 29-10-2 as a professional overall.