Heavyweight fighter Tony Johnson comes into the cage with a heavy heart with his brother’s untimely death. But odds are favoring Johnson to win over Cheick Kongo when they meet, Friday at Bellator 161.
Johnson’s camp hopes he would be able to keep it together after getting the news that his brother, William, committed suicide last Aug. 30. It was Johnson’s father who broke the news to him as he was busy preparing dinner for his kids that day.
The 30-year old fighter out of Killeen, Texas told ESPN that no matter what Kongo does to him in the cage it would not hurt him. He stressed that the hurt is no way like the way he got hurt upon learning the death of his younger brother. Johnson’s statement can also be translated by the odds, he is getting going into the fight.
Johnson gets a -135 odd of winning the fight while Kongo got a +115. Bellator 161 will be held at the HEB Center in Cedar Park, Texas. He may have a 10-2 record, but Johnson knows that he has a battle with Kongo (24-10-2), who has more experience than him.
“I know he has a long reach, so I need to improve on my craft going on. That’s an obstacle I’ll have to get over,” Johnson said. “Cardio will be a factor, too. I’ve seen some of his fights, and he does get winded very easily.”
With the latest development, Johnson believes that he will not get another opportunity to fight on the main card. He is drawing inspiration from his younger brother, whose death he believes will be meaningless if he loses.
Kongo comes in as the heavier fighter and will surely use his reach and experience advantage on Johnson. The 41-year old UFC veteran will use both his wrestling and football experience in taking down Johnson to the mat.
It will be a fight to remember as Johnson wants to honor his younger brother and while the odds pick him to win. Johnson sees it as the perfect opportunity to challenge for the title, which Vitaly Minakov vacated. The winner of the Johnson-Kongo match is likely to face another UFC veteran in the person of Matt Mitrione for the heavyweight title.
Catch the Bellator 161: Johnson vs. Kongo match via live stream on Spike TV as it kicks off its coverage with the preliminaries starting at 6:30 p.m. ET/PT.
Photo Courtesy: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Dan T. Le (Released)/Wikimedia