Friday, February 12, 2010

Conrad to fight in Philly

Former NCAA heavyweight champion wrestler Cole Konrad is signed for Matrix Fights' inaugural MMA event on Saturday, Feb. 27 at The Arena in south Philadelphia.

Konrad, who went to the University of Minnesota, is one of UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar’s training partners who made his professional MMA debut on Jan. 23 in Fargo, ND. With Lesnar in his corner, Konrad submitted Gary Hamen via choke at 1:13 of round 1. The highly anticipated debut has become a YouTube sensation and the dominant victory solidified Konrad’s standing as the top unsigned prospect in mixed martial arts.

“The addition of a fighter with the pedigree of Cole Konrad is a tremendous coup for Matrix and a strong example of our intent to become the premier MMA organization in the city of Philadelphia,” said Matrix Fights President Jimmy Binns Jr. “We were very satisfied with the existing card we had in place but with this being our first event, we wanted to really make a statement. Landing Cole Konrad’s second-ever professional MMA bout is about as big of a statement that a regional promotion can make.”

Konrad is currently being pursued by major fight organizations such as the Tokyo-based DREAM and U.S.-based Bellator Fighting Championships organization. Despite having a potential lucrative contract at stake, Konrad will be facing a stiff test against Joel Wyatt, 5-2, out of Richmond, Virginia.

“Joel Wyatt is a purple belt in jiu-jitsu and rated by as a top 15 unsigned heavyweight prospect. This is not some setup fight for Cole. It is a prospect vs. prospect bout that I expect to be very competitive,” said Matrix Fights promoter Phil Migliarese. “Cole is taking a major risk here but as bad as we wanted him on the show, we did not want to do our fans a disservice by trying to pad his record. Make no mistake, Cole will be tested and there are no guarantees he’s going to pass.”

In addition to training with Lesnar in Alexandria, MN, Konrad also trains under Greg Nelson in Minneapolis, MN at the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy, home to top fighters such as former UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk, UFC heavyweight Chris Tuchscherer, former BodogFIGHT welterweight champion Nick Thompson, former NCAA All-American Paul Bradley, and highly rated middleweight prospect Brett “The Natural Disaster” Stevens.

The Konrad vs. Wyatt bout is being billed as a “special attraction,” with the night’s main event featuring EliteXC veteran Matt Makowski (5-2) of Philadelphia, PA taking on former IFL draft finalist LeVon Maynard (9-5) of Virginia Beach, VA in a clash of welterweight prospects. The fight will serve as a long-awaited MMA-rules rematch to their 2006 Muay Thai encounter at the WKA Championships in which Makowski was the victor.

In addition to Konrad vs. Wyatt and Makowski vs. Maynard, Matrix Fights 1 (card subject to change) will also feature pro bouts between Aaron Miesner of Philadelphia, PA vs. Francois Ambang of Richmond, VA; Will Martinez in his Philadelphia debut vs. Mitch Lyons of Dayton, OH; and former United States Marine Julio Rosario vs. Steven Baker of Wilmington, DE.

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