Cheick Kongo vs. Antoni Hardonk at UFC 97


According to a report from Fighters Only magazine, two lethal heavyweight strikers will clash in the Octagon in April when Cheick Kongo meets Antoni Hardonk at UFC 97 in Montreal:

Dutch heavyweight Antoni Hardonk (8-4) will face Cheick Kongo (13-4-1) at UFC 97 in Montreal, Fighters Only learned earlier today.

Sources in the Netherlands said the bout agreements have been signed and the fight is all set for the UFC’s second Canadian event.

Hardonk (4-2 UFC) is on a three-fight winning streak in the UFC, with all three wins coming via first or second round TKO stoppage.  Known for his dangerous leg kicks, Hardonk also holds a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under the legendary Rickson Gracie.  The Dutchmen last fought at UFC 92 in December where he stopped late replacement Mike Wessel with punches in the second round.  With a 4th consecutive UFC victory and against such steep competition as Kongo, Hardonk could soon be working his way towards the top of the UFC heavyweight ladder.

Kongo (6-2 UFC), a Frenchman who trains mainly in the UK with the Wolfslair team, has compiled an impressive record inside the Octagon with his most notable win, coming via decision agains Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 75.  Always seemingly in the heavyweight title race but not yet a recipient of a title shot, Kongo most recently brutalized newcomer Mustapha Al-Turk with a vicious ground-and-pound assault that led to a first round TKO at UFC 92 in December.  Steadily improving his wrestling and jiu-jitsu with Wolsflair, Kongo will have to use more than his dangerous striking when he faces Hardonk who will perhaps be the first opponent to possibly match Kongo in stand-up ability.  It should also be noted that Kongo's only career TKO loss came against another talented Dutch striker: Gilbert Yvel.

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The rumored UFC 97 card as it stands now includes:

  • Anderson Silva vs. Thales Leites
    UFC Middleweight Championship
  • Chuck Liddell vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua
  • Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Brian Stann
  • Jason MacDonald vs. Nate Quarry
  • Ed Herman vs. David Loiseau
  • David Bielkheden vs. Mark Bocek
  • Cheick Kongo vs. Antoni Hardonk
  • Luis Cane vs. Steve Cantwell
  • Xavier Foupa-Pokam vs. Denis Kang
  • TJ Grant vs. Ryo Chonan
  • Matt Wiman vs. Sam Stout

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