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Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Cole Konrad-Paul Buentello off card

By Josh Gross
ESPN.com

A fight between Bellator heavyweight champion Cole Konrad and veteran Paul Buentello for Saturday's Bellator 42 has been cancelled after Buentello injured his back during training.

Buentello, a former contender for the UFC heavyweight championship, told ESPN.com on Tuesday that he hurt his lower back two weeks ago when he slipped while working out. Buentello (27-13) said he aggravated the injury on Monday while he was sparring with fellow heavyweight and American Kickboxing Academy wrestling instructor Daniel Cormier.

"The last round [Cormier] finally got me down against the wall and, bam, [there was] a loud pop," Buentello texted. "I was done and couldn't walk. I tried to do other stuff, but was in too much pain."

Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney confirmed the injury and said he was told the fighter would need at least 30 days to recuperate.

"We're going to have to delay Paul's fight against Cole, but the intent is that fight will happen as soon as Paul's ready to rock-n-roll," Rebney said. "It will probably happen during our summer series."

Konrad (7-0), who won NCAA wrestling championships for the University of Minnesota in 2007 and 2008, captured the Bellator title last year. The 27-year-old fighter is a training partner of former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar.

Light heavyweight tournament semifinalists D.J. Linderman and Richard Hale will anchor Saturday's event at the Lucky Star Casino in Concho, Okla. Featherweights Ronnie Mann and Josh Arocho will join the televised card, along with the second 205-pound semifinal between Christian M'Pumbu and Tim Carpenter.

Bantamweights Luiz Nogueira and Jerod Spoon will face off in the night's first fight on MTV2.

Linderman (9-1), Hale (16-3-1), M'Pumbu (16-3-1) and Carpenter (7-0) each won fights on March 26 to advance to the second stage of the eight-fighter tournament.

Josh Gross covers mixed martial arts for ESPN.com.