For the time being, Cheick Kongo and Javy Ayala will serve as the alternates in the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix.
Bellator president Scott Coker confirmed the news following Bellator 192 this past weekend as the tournament kicked off with Chael Sonnen besting Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
Coker, though, did say that more fighters could be added as alternates.
“We have a couple of fighters that we are gonna invite in as our first round of alternates because, as you know, things can happen in the tournament,” Coker said. “The last tournament I threw, it was the third alternate that ended up winning the whole thing in great fashion, and he won (Saturday), so congratulations.
Coker was referencing Daniel Cormier in his comment, as “DC” entered the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix and claimed the title with a victory over Josh Barnett. He defended his UFC light heavyweight title at UFC 220 over Volkan Oezdemir.
Kongo would have likely been included in the original field, Coker said, but due to his close relationship with Jackson, they opted to not feature him.
Since a 2015 split decision loss to Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal – who is also in the GP field – Kongo has won five consecutive fights. He also claimed a Bellator tourney title in 2013, but was bested by then-champion Vitaly Minakov in 2014.
Ayala had his two-fight win streak snapped by Roy Nelson this past September, dropping a decision. Nelson is also in the grand prix.