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Tag: Pat Curran

[EXCLUSIVE] Bellator Champ Pat Curran Is Making the Most of His Short Window of Opportunity


(“The goal was to make a good living doing this and I’m already there. I want to see how far I can take it.” Photo via Esther Lin/MMAFighting)

By Elias Cepeda

Of late, much of the big news that comes from Bellator has to do with contract clauses and disputes, lawsuits and high-profile cancellations. Because of that, one can imagine it being difficult for a marquee Bellator fighter like Pat Curran to focus on simply doing his job well.

However, the featherweight champion insists that he doesn’t keep up on other people’s news and stays focused on what matters — fighting. “I don’t like to think about it too much,” he tells CagePotato.

“As a fighter I have a very short career window and I have to make the most of where I’m at right now. I’m on a main stage with a major organization that gives me the opportunity to stay busy and make a pretty decent living.”

Having a tough opponent in front of you can help a fighter keep focused as well and Curran has exactly that this Saturday at Bellator 106 when he defends his belt against Bellator Season 6 tournament winner Daniel Straus.

“He’s very talented and very well rounded,” Curran says of the challenger.

“He throws a lot of straight, long punches and follows up with kicks. He does a very good job mixing up striking with wrestling. He’s good at clinching with guys and wearing them out. I’m definitely not just expecting a striking fight like I had with ‘Pitbull’ [Patricio Freire]. I’m prepared for anything. If it becomes a striking match, I’m ready for it. If it goes to the ground, I’m ready to mix it up.”

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OK, We’ll Admit It: This Bellator Pay-Per-View Card Is Getting Pretty Stacked

Although it’s being headlined by a matchup that is equal parts garbage and ass, the rest of Bellator’s first ever pay-per-view card is really starting to come together. Not only does it feature two title-fight rematches in Eddie Alvarez vs. Michael Chandler (lightweight) and King Mo Lawal vs. Emanuel Newton (interim LHW), but Bellator officials announced earlier today that the much delayed featherweight title fight between Pat Curran and Daniel Straus will be joining the main card as well.

MMAJunkie passes along Bjorn Rebney’s statement on what is quickly becoming one of the most stacked cards of the year. Yup, I just wrote that:

Pat Curran’s one of the best mixed martial artists we have in the game today. Before breaking his hand, Straus was a fixture in the top 10 rankings with a huge amount of talent. Curran vs. Straus is a fight I’ve wanted to see since Daniel won the tournament a year ago last May. This should be an epic world title fight and our pay-per-view provides the perfect stage.

As Rebney stated, Straus was expected to face Curran a little over a year ago after capturing the season 6 featherweight tournament, but was replaced by season 7 tourney winner Shahbulat Shamhalaev following a broken hand he suffered in training. Curran would go on to defeat the Russian replacement at Bellator 95 via first round guillotine choke.

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Bellator 95 Video Highlights + Results: Curran Submits Shamhalaev in Featherweight Title Defense, Year of the Rhino Continues

Bellator’s eighth season ended much like it began — with featherweight champion Pat Curran putting his belt on the line and emerging victorious. His opponent in the main event of last night’s Bellator 95 card in Atlantic City, New Jersey, was Shahbulat Shamhalaev, the Dagestan-bred knockout artist who clinched his title shot with his KO of Rad Martinez in February. Unlike his 25-minute squeaker against Patricio Freire in January, Curran only needed half a round to take Shamhalaev down and put him to sleep with an arm-in guillotine, earning his second successful title defense.

Depending on availability, Curran’s next opponent could be Season 6 winner Daniel Straus — who was forced to withdraw from Bellator 95 due to a broken hand — or Bellator’s latest featherweight tournament winner, Magomedrasul “Frodo” Khasbulaev, who defeated Mike Richman in a 15-minute dogfight last night. Though Richman was game through all three rounds, opening up some cuts on the Russian’s face in round two, Frodo clearly had the advantages in striking, takedowns, and overall aggression. Khasbulaev was awarded 30-27 scores from all three judges, and a $100,000 check from his employer.

In the night’s other Season 8 tournament final, middleweight Doug “The Rhino” Marshall continued his improbable career comeback by knocking out Brett Cooper in the first round. Cooper had some success early in putting Marshall on his back, but once Marshall regained his footing, it was Rhino Time. A hard right hand from Marshall sent Cooper to the canvas, and some follow-up bombs sealed the deal. The win increased Marshall’s Bellator record to 4-0, with three of those wins by first-round KO/TKO.

“Man, I hope he’s OK,” Marshall said afterwards. “I was trying to knock his beard off, but it didn’t come off. Maybe next time.”

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With Daniel Straus Injured, Shahbulat Shamhalaev Fast-Tracked to Shot at Pat Curran in April


(Full fight video of Shamhalaev’s tournament-winning performance against Rad Martinez at Bellator 90, courtesy of Wax6ynat Wamxanaeb-P3A MaptnHe3 Fuck You.) 

Another day, another injury.

At last week’s Bellator 90 event, stone-faced Russian “Assassin” (is there any other kind?) Shabulat Shamhalaev wrapped up the promotion’s 7th season featherweight tournament with a vicious knockout over fellow finalist Rad Martinez. In doing so, Shamhalaev earned a future shot at the winner of the Pat Curran/Daniel Straus featherweight title fight scheduled for April 4th. Fortunately for Shamhalaev (and unfortunately for Straus), a broken hand has forced the season six tournament winner out of the fight and has in turn opened the door for the Russian, who will now face Curran a bit earlier than expected. Bjorn Rebney broke the news via his Twitter account:

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Bellator 85 Results: Chandler Dominates Hawn, Curran Sneaks by Pitbull, Babalu and Petruzelli Wash Out of LHW Tournament


(Photo via Esther Lin/MMAFighting.com)

If we needed any more proof that Michael Chandler deserves to be mentioned among the world’s best 155′ers, we got it last night at Bellator 85 in Irvine, California, when the reigning Bellator lightweight champion made decorated judoka Rick Hawn look like it was his first time on the mats. Chandler completed his takedowns with impressive ease, and when he saw an opportunity to take Hawn’s neck during a scramble in round two, he seized on it, sinking a rear-naked choke and showcasing the killer instinct that has now become a hallmark of Chandler’s game. To be honest, it wasn’t much of a fight, and this season’s lightweight tournament field doesn’t suggest that his next challenger will make things any harder for him. On the bright side, Chandler may have just established himself as Bellator’s greatest home-grown fighter — a budding superstar for the promotion’s new Spike TV era.

While Michael Chandler made his title defense with little resistance, reigning featherweight champion Pat Curran faced a much trickier test in Patricio “Pitbull” Freire. Their title fight (which led off the Spike TV broadcast) played out as a 25-minute kickboxing match, which started slow but built into an entertaining and evenly-pitched battle. Curran’s striking was just a little more active and accurate, however, and if you were judging on facial damage through the fight, Pitbull’s swollen-shut right eye and bloodied mouth didn’t exactly scream “winner.” When the scores were announced, “Judo” Gene LeBell saw it for the challenger, but the other two judges made the right call in awarding the win to the defending champ.

In addition to the two title fights, Bellator 85′s main card also featured a pair of light-heavyweight tournament quarterfinals. Unfortunately, those UFC castoffs we mentioned yesterday are well on their way to becoming Bellator castoffs as well, as Renato “Babalu” Sobral and Seth Petruzelli were steamrolled by their lesser-known competitors. Russian M-1 Challenge vet Mikhail Zayats stunned Sobral with a spinning-backfist near the end of the first round of their fight, then swarmed him to the canvas and fired down punches until the fight was stopped. (Eddie Alvarez’s wife called that shit, you guys.)

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Four Reasons Why You Should Watch Bellator’s Spike TV Debut Tonight


(Pat Curran, King Mo, and Michael Chandler — co-nominees in the “Best Kiss” category. / Photo via Getty Images)

Bellator’s eighth season kicks off tonight on Spike TV (10/9c), and now that the promotion has left Friday nights, you might even be thinking about watching the show. Here’s why that’s a good idea…

1. Michael Chandler is the second-greatest undefeated fighter in the world. Since winning Bellator’s lightweight title from Eddie Alvarez in November 2011, Chandler has competed exactly once — a 56-second TKO of Akihiro Gono in a non-title mismatch last May. Now carrying a perfect record of 10-0, Chandler is once again facing a legit challenge in the form of Rick Hawn, the former Olympic judoka and Bellator mainstay who dropped down from welterweight last year and swept the Season 6 Lightweight Tournament.

2. Pat Curran is also an entertaining son-of-a-bitch. Undefeated at 145 pounds, Curran also competed just once last year, when he very nearly ended Joe Warren’s life to win Bellator’s featherweight title. We’ve been itching to see him back in the game, and he’ll be leading off tonight’s Spike broadcast with a belt-defense against Patricio “Pitbull” Freire. Speaking of guys who have been sidelined for a while, Pitbull hasn’t been in the cage since he won the Season Four Featherweight Tournament in 2011, partly due to a broken hand suffered in training last year.

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Bellator Confirms Stacked Lineup for Jan. 17 Spike TV Premiere, Debut Date for King Mo and ‘Babalu’

Bellator’s first event on Spike TV will take place Thursday, January 17th, at the University of California’s Bren Center in Irvine, California, and will be headlined by a pair of title fights. The promotion confirmed the news today, revealing that undefeated phenom Michael Chandler will make his first official lightweight title defense at the event (aka Bellator 85) against Rick Hawn, the 14-1 Olympic judoka who won the Season 5 lightweight tournament earlier this year.

Also on the card, featherweight champion Pat Curran — who’s 4-0 since dropping to 145 and is coming off his near-murder of Joe Warren — will be putting his belt on the line against explosive contender Patricio “Pitbull” Freire. Though Freire won all three of his fights in 2011, winning the Season 4 featherweight tournament, he wasn’t able to compete in 2012, partly due to injuries.

And that’s not all. During a Bellator/Spike TV conference call held earlier today, many more details about Bellator 85 and the promotion’s upcoming eighth season were announced. For instance…

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Joe Warren to Give This Whole Bantamweight Pipe Dream Another Try at Bellator 80


(It’s safe to say that it can’t end any worse than the first time.) 

Over the past two years, Joe Warren has gone from a tough-nosed underdog to an unexpected/abrasively arrogant champion to the poster child for what not to do if you ever become an MMA champion. His strategy of trying to win two belts before he could defend one (also known as Hendo-ing) backfired in epic fashion to say the least, resulting in a pair of brutal knockout losses to Alexis Villa and Pat Curran,  the latter of which cost him the title he had actually earned. Not only were these losses thoroughly embarrassing for his “Baddest Man on the Planet” shtick, but the damage resulting from them will likely challenge his mental stability down the line if you know what we are saying. The fact that he obtained the featherweight title in the fashion he did — getting absolutely dominated only to score a flukish comeback thereafter — only led people to further question his decision to drop down a weight class in hindsight.

Unfortunately for Joe, his combination of bad decision making and bad luck left him with nowhere to go other than back down to bantamweight for his next fight at Bellator 80, which goes down on November 9th. Fortunately for Joe, the matchmakers at Bellator or going to give him a much easier opponent this time around…

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Quote of the Day: Dr. Johnny Benjamin Feels Joe Warren Should Take a Year Off From Fighting


(Turns out, Pat Curran received a nickel for every unnecessary shot he was able to deliver to Warren’s dome. He used the proceeds to buy his mother a house in Brazil.) 

Whether you love or hate former Bellator featherweight champion Joe Warren, you were likely up in arms over the ridiculously late stoppage that marred his Bellator 60 title fight with Pat Curran. In fact, you were likely curled up in the fetal position when forced to re-watch that travesty while writing for a MMA website some ten days later. You weren’t? Well, neither was I, but this guy I know…

In either case, you wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Joe Warren vomited backstage in the wake of that loss, which basically wrote home the general consensus that he had suffered a concussion that night. Thankfully, Warren has undergone several tests since then that have cleared him of any permanent brain damage, but the idea that he could receive a scant 90 day suspension for his injuries has earned the ire of MMAJunkie.com medical columnist Dr. Johnny Benjamin, who feels Warren should take closer to a year to fully recover from that ungodly beating:

He needs a year off for his brain to heal and then reassess his life and say, ‘Is this what I want to continue to do? Two vicious knockouts in a row? You don’t even want to begin to think what that’s doing to your brain. The man really needs a year off from taking blows to the head.

Given that Gary Goodridge was recent diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy as a result of similarly acquired punishment, perhaps this is something Warren should consider.

Join us after the jump for more from Dr. Benjamin’s interview.

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Wednesday Morning MMA Link Club: How the Hell Are There No Reviews for This Yet?


(Props: Amazon.com, via CP reader “joe sons balls,” who claims that he randomly came upon one of Phil Baroni‘s old fetish-modeling gigs while searching for XTC t-shirts. Sure, buddy. Your secret’s safe with us.)

Some selected highlights from our friends around the MMA blogosphere…

- Sean Sherk Planning UFC Return in 2012, But Won’t Fight ‘Some Chump Who Needs Some Fame’ (MMA Mania)

- Report: UFC Beginning to Target Consumers in Online Piracy War (MMA Convert)

Pat Curran Talks Title Win Over Joe Warren at Bellator 60 (The Fight Nerd)

Trouble Already Brewing on Set of TUF 15 (Five Ounces of Pain)

Nick Diaz Might Be Retired From MMA, But His Career as a Ninja Has Just Begun (MiddleEasy)

Jon Jones Wants Anderson Silva as a “Mentor,” Not an Opponent (Lowkick.Blitzcorner.com)

Odds Stacked Against Frank Mir at UFC 146 (5th Round)

- Cesar Gracie Wants Penn or Pettis for Gilbert Melendez’s Next Fight (FightLine)

- Tim Sylvia Deserves Another Shot in the UFC (BleacherReport.com/MMA)

- UFC Threatens Lawsuit Against Oklahoma (MMA Payout)

- Testosterone Capitulation: The UFC, Rampage, & Fighters Only (Fight Opinion)

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