Cole “The Polar Bear” Konrad vanquished another foe Thursday Night, edging one step closer to championship gold.
Konrad (6-0) defeated the previously unbeaten Damian Grabowski (13-1) by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27) at Bellator 29 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The fight was one of his most action packed fights to date, with Konrad dominating the majority of the fight, taking down Grabowski at will and tying him up on the mat for most of the 15 minute fight.
This was Konrad’s most active fight today, with referee Jeremy Herzog standing up both fighters multiple times when the action stalled on the mat.
Konrad was able to fend up multiple submission attempts by Grabowski in the second round, and even attempted a kimura late in the second round that looked have his opponent in trouble.
The conditioning of “the Polar Bear” also seemed much improved, as he didn’t look winded until late in the third round. In his last couple of fights, Konrad appeared to have gassed out after just one round, though he was still able to control the fight enough to win in those other matches.
One funny moment in round two saw the audience heavily boo the action on the mat and Konrad who was on top, but after being stood up by the referee, the crowd exploded into a loud “USA” chant, despite booing Konrad seconds before.
With this win, Konrad moves onto the finals of the Bellator heavyweight tournament, where he’ll face South African Neil Grove (10-2 with 1 draw). Grove was also victorous Thursday night, delivering a decisive TKO victory over Russian Alexey Oleinik in just 45 seconds of round one. Grove is a dangerous strike and will be Konrad’s biggest test to date, as all 10 of his victories have come from KO or TKO.
The winner of the Konrad-Grove fight, which will take place sometime in October, will be named the first ever Bellator heavyweight champion.
Minnesotan featured on The Ultimate Fighter
Unbeaten Minnesotan Mike “The Marine” Richman (8-0) was seen briefly on the season debut of The Ultimate Fighter this week, where he lost his opening round qualifying fight to UK native Aaron Wilkinson.
The 24-year-old Richman was one of 28 fighters trying to earn a spot in the house this season, which features UFC welterweight champion George St Pierre and first season TUF bad boy Josh Koscheck as coaches.
The exhibition fight, which Richman lost by unanimous decision after two rounds, was only seen in clips on the show.
Richman, a 2003 graduate of Rosemount High School, told the Rosemount Townpages ““I feel like I did as good as I could. I would do it again. Over and over again.”
Following high school, Richman joined the Marines, serving three combat tours in Iraq as an infantryman. He started training to be a fighter after leaving the Marines in 2008.
“It’s different, but the mentality is kind of the same. The toughness,” Richman said in the interview. “The mental toughness is the same. Being a badass in the Marine Corps. and infantry is going to help you be a badass through the tough parts in mixed martial arts.”
Richman is back in Minnesota and training at the Minnesota Fight Factory. There has been no word yet on when his next fight will be. He is the fifth Minnesota to appear on The Ultimate Fighter, being proceeded by Tommy Spear, Sam Morgan, Zak Jensen and Charley Lynch. Spear was the only one with notable success, reaching the finals of season 6’s tournament before losing to Mac Danzig.