Konrad, Grove Advance to Bellator Heavyweight Final

By Brian Knapp Sep 16, 2010
Cole Konrad (top) vs. Damian Grabowski: Photo Courtesy -- Bellator


Two-time NCAA national wrestling champion Cole Konrad swallowed the hopes of Damian Grabowski with three rounds of takedowns, top control and ground-and-pound.

Konrad defeated the previously unbeaten Grabowski by unanimous decision in the Bellator Fighting Championships Season 3 heavyweight tournament semi-finals at Bellator 29 on Thursday at The Rave in Milwaukee. Scores were 30-26, 30-27 and 30-27, all in Konrad’s favor.

“Obviously, I’d like to finish it for everyone here,” Konrad said. “I’m just trying to continue to develop. I’m far from being the well-rounded fighter I want to be.”

The tone was set early, as Konrad took Grabowski off his feet with a powerful double-leg takedown inside the first five seconds. The Polish import spent the entire first round on his back, pinned hopelessly underneath Konrad, who stayed active from the top with knees to the body and short punches and hammerfists to the head.

Rounds two and three followed a similar narrative, though Grabowski enjoyed a brief glimmer of hope in the third. The 30-year-old Pole tripped Konrad to the canvas and threatened him with a guillotine choke. Konrad freed himself, re-established a safe distance on his feet and went back to work, scoring with two more takedowns. With that, Grabowski’s 13-fight winning streak was over.

Konrad will face UFC veteran Neil Grove in the heavyweight final. Grove blitzed through Alexey Oleinik in 45 seconds, as he whacked the Ukrainian submission specialist with a knee to the head, a clubbing right hand and follow-up punches on the ground. The unanswered blows, coupled with Oleinik’s vulnerable position beneath his opponent, led to the stoppage -- the eighth first-round finish of Grove’s career.

“If you fight, you come out to win, not score points,” said Grove, who will carry a four-fight unbeaten streak into the final. “My job is to finish.”

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