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Saturday, August 20, 2011
Konrad shows striking skills in nontitle win

By Franklin McNeil

The big question mark in Cole Konrad’s game has been his striking. If the Bellator heavyweight champion was to be taken seriously, he needed to prove his ability inside the cage isn't limited to wrestling.

For the first two round of his nontitle fight, Konrad moved his feet, his head and his hands to connect regularly against hard-hitting Paul Buentello.

The judges were impressed with Konrad’s effort, giving him a unanimous decision win, scoring it 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27 for Konrad. ESPN.com scored the fight 30-27 for Konrad.

“I took a lot of criticism for only wrestling,” said Konrad, who improved to 8-0. “I came out and showed that I can strike too.”

It didn’t take Buentello long to realize standing in front of Konrad might not be a wise thing to do. Buentello spent the first two rounds on his bicycle, which brought boos from the crowd.

Realizing he was behind in the fight, Buentello (29-14-0) came out aggressive in the third round, but it was too little, too late by then.