Zak Jensen and Neil Grove opened Bellator 47 with a bang. The heavyweights, who both reside just under the 265 pound limit, collided from the opening seconds like brahma bulls. Grove was rocked just five seconds in, but recovered to gain top control and smash out Jensen in exactly minutes in Rama, Canada.
Grove (11-3-1) showed he's tough. From the opening bell, the bulky big guys threw like wild men and Jensen clipped Grove with a right hand that dropped him. In the past, the South African fighting out of England with no formal wrestling training when he entered the sport, may have panicked and bailed mentally. With better training under his belt, Grove grabbed a leg and eventually flipped to work for a kneebar or heel hook.
Then both fighters sat up on the rear ends and wailed away at each other. Jensen couldn't keep pace and dropped back where Grove jumped into his guard. The 6-foot-6, 264 pounder got off six hammerfists and referee Yves Lavigne jumped in to save the American.
"He hit me with a couple of hard shots. I'm happy that I took them and because I've been spending so much time in America training some wrestling, I've been learning what to do when I'm on the ground. I made use of it," Grove told Bellator's Jimmy Smith. "When I was on the ground I just knew I had to let my hands go. The man can take a punch!"
Grove, 40, has been working on his grappling and ground work. It's always been the big hole is his game. It was exploited during Bellator's Season 3 Heavyweight tournament by former Div. 1 NCAA wrestling champion Cole Konrad. Konrad scored an early takedown and eventually got a first round win via keylock at Bellator 32 back in October.
"My loss against Cole Konrad is something of the past. I've been training everyday since that fight to get back into the heavyweight tournament," Grove said as he held up his fists. "And Cole you're going to say hello to goodnight and sleep tight when we meet next."
This was the ninth first round KO of Grove's brief career. The loss was the third in four fight for Jensen, a Season 10 "Ultimate Fighter" alum.