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Ex-college wrestlers Jenkins, Anundson score first-round wins at Bellator 122

Kelly Anundson (left) and Bubba Jenkins both scored quick wins at Bellator 122
Kelly Anundson (left) and Bubba Jenkins both scored quick wins at Bellator 122
Photos (from left) courtesy of Kelly Anundson's Facebook, Grapple at the Garden 2, both used with permission

Former college wrestlers Bubba Jenkins and Kelly Anundson both scored first-round TKOs in their respective matches at Bellator 122 at Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, Calif. Friday night.

Jenkins, former mat star at Penn State and Arizona State, “stopped Poppies Martinez with ground-and-pound 4:10 into the first round of their featherweight tilt,” according to mixed martial arts website Sherdog.com’s play-by-play coverage of the Bellator Fighting Championships preliminary match. Jenkins, who weighed in at 146 pounds for last night’s fight, is now 7-1 overall, and 4-1 in Bellator competition. The veteran Martinez is now 20-10 for his career, and 1-2 in Bellator.

Former Newberry College wrestler Anundson’s match was even shorter. Anundson advanced to the finals of the 2014 Bellator Summer Series light-heavyweight tournament when Luiz Philipe Lins was unable to continue because of a knee injury at 1:40 of the first round of their 205-pound bout. Anundson, who is 9-2 overall, and 3-0 in Bellator, while Lins falls to 9-1, and 2-1 in Bellator.

Anundson will now face Liam McGeary in Bellator’s light-heavyweight finals. McGeary scored a TKO win over Egidijus Valavicius at 2:10 of the first round in their 205-pound semifinals bout.

Jenkins, who inked a developmental deal with Bellator in June 2013, won the 157-pound title for Arizona State at the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships by pinning former Penn State teammate David Taylor in the finals. Jenkins had wrestled for the Nittany Lions for three years prior to completing his collegiate career as a Sun Devil.

Anundson joined Bellator in February 2014. Prior to launching his professional MMA career in 2010, Anundson was a three-time NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships qualifier for Newberry College in South Carolina. He earned NCAA All-American honors at 197 pounds in 2008.

Both Jenkins and Anundson follow in the footsteps of other former college mat stars who once competed for Bellator. Two NCAA champs who held Bellator titles: Ben Askren, two-time NCAA champ for the University of Missouri who later became a Bellator welterweight titleholder (now with ONE FC), and Cole Konrad, who, after winning two 285-pound crowns as a University of Minnesota wrestler, held onto the Bellator heavyweight championship until his retirement from MMA to enter the business world in 2012.