At Bellator 112 Friday from Horseshoe Hammond Casino in Hammond, Ind., Pat Curran retook his Bellator featherweight belt from Daniel Straus in dramatic fashion.
The early goings of the fight saw either man excel outside their comfort zone. Straus, a plodding grappler, showed some solid and stifling hands and solid flurries. Curran, a lethal striker, worked the clinch effectively and scored a couple of takedowns of his own.
After that, however, Straus seemed like he was going to get the nod on the scorecards, as he matched Curran's striking output but landed effective takedowns of his own. Entering the fifth round, Curran likely needed to finish Straus to win. And he did just that.
In the waning seconds of the fight, Curran got Straus down and slithered to his back, sinking in a rear-naked choke. Straus defended for a good while, but the grip just got tighter and tighter until the champ was forced to tap.
Curran will face off with ninth-season featherweight tournament winner Patricio Freire. It will be a rematch of their Bellator 85 bout, which Curran won by split decision.
Earlier in the night, the welterweight tournament limped into the spotlight. While the lineup for the tournament was initially impressive, Joe Riggs, Jon Koppenhaver and Mark Scanlon all withdrew from the tournament and were replaced by Nathan Coy, Paul Bradley and Cristiano Souza.
Coy would kick off the tournament by taking a handy-dandy decision win off Bradley. He faces off with Adam McDonough, who took a narrow (though still unanimous) decision win over Jesse Juarez.
On the other end of the bracket, Sam Oropeza advanced to the semifinals with a devastating first-round knockout of Souza. His upcoming opponent, season seven welterweight tournament winner Andrey Koreshkov, was not outshined, however, as he landed a clipping knee to Nah-Shon Burrell during an exchange and finished him with punches in just 41 seconds.
The tournament winner will earn a welterweight title shot, opposite either Rick Hawn or Douglas Lima, who face off to fill the void left by Ben Askren.
The undercard was generally underwhelming, however. The only noteworthy performance was Darrion Caldwell's annihilation of Lance Surma. The performance is likely to earn him more time in Bellator, possibly in the next featherweight tournament.
Main Card Results
- Andrey Koreshkov defeats Nah-Shon Burrell by technical knockout via knee and punches at 0:41 of Round 1
- Sam Oropeza defeats Cristiano Souza by knockout via punches at 3:07 of Round 1
- Adam McDonough defeats Jesse Juarez by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Preliminary Card Results
- Nathan Coy defeats Paul Bradley by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Belal Muhammad defeats A.J. Matthews by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Darrion Caldwell defeats Lance Surma by submission via guillotine choke at 0:50 of Round 1
- Derek Loffer defeats Bobby Reardanz by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Anthony Gomez defeats Jason Guida by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
- Daniel James defeats Erick Correa by submission via strikes at 4:30 of Round 2