Bellator Crowning First Heavyweight Champ

Grove and Konrad are the last two men standing in the Bellator Heavyweight Tournament (Photos courtesy of Bellator).
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Cole Konrad to Battle Neil Grove at Bellator 32

Chicago, Ill. (Monday, September 27, 2010) – Bellator Fighting Championships has made it official that it will crown its first-ever heavyweight champion on October 14th when Bellator 32 is held at the Kansas City Power & Light District. Set to battle for the inaugural title will be two-time NCAA Division I Heavyweight Wrestling Champion Cole Konrad (6-0) and Neil Grove (10-2-1) after both fighters won their way through the Bellator Season 3 Heavyweight Tournament.

“This fight pits a world-class striker against a world-class wrestler,” Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney remarked. “Both Neil and Cole have been completely dominant in the quarter and semi-final rounds, so whoever wins this fight has earned this title without any questions.”

This match will be Conrad’s fifth consecutive with Bellator, and the Wisconsin native made his debut with the promotion at Bellator 17 in a unanimous decision victory over Pat Bennett. The 2006 and 2007 NCAA Champion at Minnesota only turned to professional MMA in January, and this pairing with Grove is his seventh bout in 2010. Konrad, who is a training partner of UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar, earned his way into the finals after scoring unanimous decision wins over Rogent Lloret and the previously undefeated Damian Grabowski.

“It’s going to be a great fight,” Konrad stated. “Everyone knows I’ll be looking for the takedown, but my standup game has been steadily improving, and I feel like I can control the fight no matter the situation.”

Grove began fighting in 2006, and the English native started his career with five consecutive knockouts before suffering a split decision loss to Rob Broughton at Cage Rage 25 in London. All 10 of his victories have come via knockout, and Grove did make a one-bout stop in the UFC after beginning his MMA competition with a 7-1 record. After a submission loss to International Fight League veteran Mike Ciesnolevicz in his debut at UFC 95, Grove moved on to the English-based promotion Ultimate Challenge MMA, where he was unbeaten in two matches. From there, he signed with Bellator to fight in its heavyweight tournament, advancing to the finals against Conrad by recording first round TKOs of Eddie Sanchez and Alexey Oleinik.

“I’m just excited to get to the finals,” Grove said. “Everyone knows I’m a striker, but I haven’t really had to show off my wrestling skills. They’re certainly going to be on display against Cole, and I’m ready to show people what I can do.”

Next up on the calendar for Bellator is a trip to L'Auberge du Lac Casino Resort in Lake Charles, Louisiana, for Bellator 31 this Thursday.

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