Cole Konrad had earned the reputation of being a boring fighter. In his first four Bellator fights, Konrad won decisions by using the elite wrestling skills honed while becoming a two-time national champion at the University of Minnesota. Konrad changed that on Thursday night, winning with a first-round submission over Neil Grove.
Konrad took down Grove, the feared striker, early in the round. He continued to work ground and pound until the end of the round neared. Then, he grabbed Grove's arm for a keylock, forcing Grove to submit at 4:45 of the first round. With that, Konrad became Bellator's first heavyweight champion.
Konrad wasn't the only champion crowned on Thursday, as Zach Makovsky won the bantamweight championship as well.
Makovsky withstood an early Ed West Kimura attempt, and came back to control West with takedowns throughout the fight. In the third, he cut West above the eye, adding to the Makovsky's domination of the fight. With a 50-45, 50-45, 49-46 score, Makovsky became Bellator's first bantamweight champion.
In non-tournament action, "Judo" Jim Wallhead is headed back to England with a win. He beat Ryan Thomas by winning the stand-up war.
Next week, Bellator heads to Philadelphia for a non-title bout between Eddie Alvarez and Roger Huerta as well as Ben Askren trying to take the welterweight belt from Lyman Good.
The promotion also announced two signings: former WEC lightweight champion Rob McCullough and Polish lightweight Marcin Held.
- Cole Konrad