Bellator heavyweight champion Cole “The Polar Bear” Konrad will take on veteran knockout artist and former UFC heavyweight contender Paul “The Headhunter” Buentello in a heavyweight super fight at Bellator 42 on April 23.
Although a non-title bout, it will be Konrad’s first cage appearance since he won the belt by defeating Neil Grove in the season three heavyweight tournament finals last October.
The two-time NCAA champion and Pan-Am gold medalist remains undefeated in his pro MMA career with a perfect 7-0 record. All seven of Konrad’s pro bouts took place in 2010.
Buentello was last in the cage in Dec. 2010 when he scored a unanimous decision over fellow veteran Kerry Schall at Nemesis Fighting. Prior to that he suffered a second round knockout loss to Tim Sylvia at “War on the Mainland” in Aug. 2010, and is 2-3 in his last five fights.
Buentello, 37, is 10 years the senior of Konrad. And all 10 of those years he spent fighting professionally.
Konrad commented on the match-up:
“I’m not taking Paul Buentello lightly for one moment. 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.”
Despite Buentello’s immense experience advantage, as well as his striking advantage, this is going to be an incredibly tough fight for him. Not only will Konrad be cutting to make 265-pounds, but when he puts someone on their back and puts that weight on top of them, it is nearly impossible to get him off.
Buentello commented on the “giant” task before him:
“With a nickname like ‘The Headhunter’, most of my opponents know that I’m looking to stand and bang. 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.”
“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 Saturday, April 23, at the Lucky Star Casino in Concho, Okla., and will air LIVE on MTV2. Other bouts expected to take place on the card include both season four light heavyweight tournament semifinal matches with Tim Carpenter taking on Christian M’Pumbu and Richard Hale facing D.J. Linderman.