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Cole Konrad looks to continue winning way against UFC veteran Paul Buentello

cole konrad Cole Konrad looks to continue winning way against UFC veteran Paul Buentello

Stepping back into the Bellator cage for the first time since winning the Bellator Heavyweight Championship, Cole Konrad faces his toughest test to date in his young MMA career when he takes on former UFC and Strikeforce Heavyweight contender, Paul “The Headhunter” Buentello in a Heavyweight Non-Title fight at Bellator 42. 

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

“The Polar Bear” has made the most of his MMA career so far, winning his first seven fights to start this career. The Death Clutch product and regular sparring partner for former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar. Wrestling at the University of  Minnesota, Konrad finished his wrestling career with two NCAA National Championships, along with a Runner-up spot in 2005. Konrad also found success on the international level winning a Gold Medal in the 2005 Pan American Championships, finished 3rd in the U.S. World Team Trials and a Bronze Medal in the 2006 World University Championships.

With the match-up against Buentello, Konrad knows he will be facing his toughest test, and is planning his fight around just that notion.

“I’m not taking Paul Buentello lightly for one moment,” said Konrad. “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.”

Paul Buentello has had a rough go at it in his most recent fights, going 2-3 in his last 5, with losses coming to Cheick Kongo, Stefan Struve and Tim Sylvia. Buentello’s experience spans multiple promotions including fighting for both the UFC and Strikeforce Heavyweight championships and being a former King of the Cage Heavyweight champion. Training out of AKA, the American Kickboxing Academy, Buentello has lived up to his nickname that he earned early in his career, with 17 of his 29 victories coming via KO and only going to a judges decisions three times.

“With a nickname like “The Headhunter”, most of my opponents know that I’m looking to stand and bang,” said Buentello. “I’m definitely expecting for Cole Konrad to try to get me to the ground as soon as possible. I have to pull the trigger in this fight. I got into this sport making a name for myself for putting my hands on my opponent’s 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.”

While Buentello has the experience, he still feels himself as the underdog going into his fight with Konrad.

“In my mind I see this fight like David versus Goliath. Cole Konrad 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 for me to go out there and perform the way I know I can.”

Bellator 42 will take place at the Lucky Star Casino in Concho, Oklahoma, April 23rd and will be featured live on MTV2.

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Tags: Bellator, Bellator 42, Brock Lesnar, Cole Konrad, Heavyweight, MMA, Paul Buentello

Category: Bellator, Interview, MMA

About the Author ()

I was born in New York, but currently reside in PA. Have been following the sport since about 2000, ever since I picked up a few VHS' of the old UFC tournaments. I served on active duty in the Marines and currently serve in the PA Army National Guard. I've been doing sub-wrestling and BJJ for about 2 years and have studied Aikido for 3 years. I enjoy all forms of combat sports, but huge into BJJ tournaments and of course, MMA.

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