Konrad, Buentello to Collide in Bellator 42 Super Fight

By Brian Knapp Apr 4, 2011
Bellator Fighting Championships heavyweight kingpin Cole Konrad (Pictured) will meet Paul Buentello in a non-title super fight at Bellator 42 on April 23 at the Lucky Star Casino in Concho, Okla. The tournament-based promotion on Monday made the matchup official for the event, which will air on MTV2.

“Cole had three very dominant performances for us last season on his way to becoming our first heavyweight world champion,” Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney said in a release. “I’m expecting big things from Cole, and Paul will provide a fantastic test for our young champ.”

Unbeaten in seven professional appearances, Konrad last competed at Bellator 32 in October, when he submitted UFC veteran Neil Grove with a first-round keylock at the Kansas City Power and Light District in Kansas City, Mo. A two-time NCAA wrestling champion at the University of Minnesota, the 6-foot-5, 265-pound behemoth was a gold medalist at the 2005 Pan American Championships and won bronze at the 2006 World University Championships. The 27-year-old Appleton, Wis., native has trained alongside former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar.

Konrad knows the experienced Buentello poses a serious challenge.

“I’m not taking Paul lightly for one moment,” he said. “I feel like this fight with Paul is going to be the toughest fight of my career, and that’s exactly how I’m preparing for it. Just because he’s a little older doesn’t mean he’s not dangerous. He has a ton of experience, and that definitely works to his advantage.”

Buentello has not competed since he posted a unanimous decision against Kerry Schall under the Nemesis Fighting banner in December. The 37-year-old Amarillo, Texas, native fought Andrei Arlovski for the UFC heavyweight championship in 2005 and Alistair Overeem for the Strikeforce heavyweight crown in 2007.

“In my mind, I see this fight like David versus Goliath,” Buentello said. “Cole is a lot bigger than me, and a lot of people are expecting for him to beat me. They’re expecting for him to take me down and hold me down, kind of how David was supposed to lose against Goliath. I know what I’m expected to do and I know what I’m capable of doing, so it’s up to me to go out there and perform the way I know I can.”

A Grudge Training Center representative who has also trained extensively at the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif., Buentello, nicknamed “The Headhunter,” has secured more than half (17) of his 29 career victories by knockout or technical knockout.

“I have to pull the trigger in this fight,” Buentello said. “I got into this sport making a name for myself for putting my hands on my opponents’ faces, and I definitely want to get back to my roots in this fight. I plan on standing my ground and putting my hands on Cole.”
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