Photo by Dave Mandel via

It wasn’t the prettiest or most exciting of fights, but two time NCAA Heavyweight Wrestling Champion Cole Konrad did show his development as a Mixed Martial Arts fighter by working an effective jab and straight right to frustrate his opponent, seasoned veteran Paul Buentello who was frozen at points in the fight due to anticipation of a takedown that never came.

Fighting out of Brock Lesnar’s Deathclutch MMA team in Minnesota, many expected Konrad to take the fight to the ground where he had a definitive advantage but work with the likes of Peter Welch, Greg Nelson and Pat Barry shows he is evolving his game. Still at issue though is his conditioning as the improved footwork, head movement and strike rate noticeably lessened as the fight reached the midway point.

When the fight did finally go to the ground it was from a clipping forearm that off-balanced Buentello causing ‘The Polar Bear’ to jump right on him and blanket-ride him from the back and attempt to land shots from a form of over-under control. Konrad attempted to get both his legs in for a double knife-ride commonly seen in Jiu Jitsu and go for a rear choke but rolled on his back and allowed Buentello to work himself free with only one leg in for control. Konrad was able to scramble with the position and work from inside of Buentello’s ‘half-guard’; not quite Turking the leg but riding well enough and using his head to drive and control Buentello on bottom.

Konrad stayed busy working strikes to the body but unfortunately referee Dan Miragliotta stood them up likely influenced by a jeering crowd. Konrad noticeably gassed at this point survived the final minute of the round with Buentello showing clear frustration with himself for his lack of engagement.

No submission from Konrad but reasonable display of control and riding when it did go to the ground,  though going to his back instead of breaking Buentello down from on top was perhaps a mistake blew the opportunity to finish.

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