Bellator Fighting Championships announced Wednesday that its sixth-season finale will feature Cole Konrad’s first defense of his heavyweight title, as “The Polar Bear” takes on Season 5 tournament winner Eric Prindle on May 25.
Also featuring the middleweight tournament final and an appearance by UFC veteran Rich Clementi against a to-be-named opponent, Bellator 70 takes place at the New Orleans Convention Center and marks the Chicago-based promotion’s ninth trip to the state of Louisiana. As usual, the evening’s main card airs on MTV2 and Epix, while the preliminary card streams live on Spike.com.
The middleweight bracket currently sits in the semifinal stage, with Brian Rogers, Bruno Santos, Vyacheslav Vasilevsky and Maiquel Falcao all vying to become the next challenger to 185-pound champ Hector Lombard. The men will narrow the field from four to two at Bellator 66 on April 20, as “The Predator” faces Santos while “Slava” takes on Falcao.
Konrad has yet to defend his title after winning the promotion’s inaugural heavyweight tournament in Season 3. Since his title-winning performance in October 2010, the former two-time NCAA Division I wrestling champion has competed just once, outpointing onetime UFC title challenger Paul Buentello in a non-title affair this past August.
“I’m really excited to get back into the cage,” Konrad stated in a release. “This fight has been a long time coming. Eric is a really good standup fighter and I have a lot of respect for him. I know what he can do standing up, so I’m not going to deviate from anything that has made me successful in the past.”
Prindle earned his shot at Konrad’s title in an unconventional manner. After Prindle’s Season 5 tournament final with Thiago Santos was declared a no-contest due to a low blow this past November, the big men were set to rematch at Bellator 61 on March 16, only to see the bout postponed another week after Prindle came down with flu-like symptoms. One week later, Santos failed to make the heavyweight limit, and “The American Soldier” was declared the de facto tournament victor.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney then announced that Prindle would challenge Konrad at Bellator 65 on April 13, but that announcement proved premature when it was learned that Prindle was suffering from a minor but lingering hand injury.
“I’m just ready to get into the cage and end this,” Prindle said. “I want to become a champion, and this is my time to do that.”