Posts Tagged ‘Pat Curran’

Highs, Lows, and Oh-No’s: Bellator 76 Edition

Written by MMARecap Staff on . Posted in Editorials

Bellator 76 Poster

Bellator 76 Poster

The third event during Bellator’s seventh season is in the books and what a way to kick off the featherweight tournament. All the action took place in Windsor, Canada.

Wagnney Fabiano submitting Akop Stepanyan in the first round. The former WEC star made his Bellator debut and reminded everyone how good he truly is. Originally tapped to fight during the season six featherweight tournament, an injury delayed his return to the cage. Nearly two years since his last fight, Fabiano was relentless with his takedown attempts. Once he got Stepanyan to the canvas, he locked in a fight ending armbar and told everyone he was the man to beat in the tournament.

Unlike Bellator’s heavyweight division where the champ forfeited his title and the tournament is going to crown a new champ, Bellator’s featherweight division is starting to stack up challenger after challenger. The mess started back in 2011 as then champ Joe Warren expressed an interest in fighting in the bantamweight tournament. He won the title in September of 2010 and then fought Marcos Galvao in April of 2011 in a non-title fight. Patricio Freire won the right to challenge Warren a month later, but because Warren was set to fight in the bantamweight tournament, the fight was put on hold. Bellator proceeded with another featherweight tournament that summer in which Pat Curran won the right to challenge the winner of the as yet to be determined Warren-Freire fight. Freire got injured and Curran was able to step in and become champ. Curran’s first defense was to be against Freire in August of 2012, but Curran suffered an injury. While the fight with Curran and Freire was being promoted, Daniel Straus was able to win the season six featherweight tournament and earn his right to challenge for the title. Now with Curran recovering from an injury, two number one contenders and a soon to be third, the featherweight division is too stacked at this point in time.

It’s no secret that Eddie Alvarez was at the end of his Bellator contract. Arguably the face of the promotion since the first season, Alvarez had been promoted as the best lightweight in the world. Even after suffering his loss to Michael Chandler, he was still promoted as a top three lightweight by Bellator. But now, one of the long time staples is about to hit the free market and it couldn’t have come with a better send off for Alvarez. Bellator paired him off against Patricky Freire for his last fight as Freire has heavy hands and if someone was going to give Alvarez a fight it was him. And while Freire did catch Alvarez at one point and had him stumbling around on weak legs, Alvarez was able to recover and knock Freire out with just six seconds left in the first round. While Bellator would have a hard time matching ANY offer made to Alvarez by the UFC, Alvarez just made his services even more valuable. Both Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta both tweeted at Alvarez that they were excited to talk to the lightweight. Bellator will be able to recover from the loss of a single fighter, but it still is unfortunate to see a long-time fan-favorite of an organization possibly go to the competition.

Ask MMARecap: Will Bellator’s Format Be Their Downfall?

Written by MMARecap Staff on . Posted in Ask MMA Recap

Ask MMARecap is back and this week’s question comes to us from Dave Ellinger out in California. He asks a valid question, one that has been debated time and time again about the number two promotion, Bellator.

Dave asks, “I like the tournament basis to help find a title contender, but I think it will be their downfall if they continue this trend of ONLY tournament winners fighting for the title. It leaves the champ not defending their title enough and more importantly long time champs that lose their title are thrown all the way at the bottom with no chance to fight for the title unless they win the whole tournament. That is disrespectful in my opinion, what’s your take?

There are a couple of levels to this question and hopefully I can answer all of them. First, for those that don’t know what Bellator’s tournament format is (are you living under a rock?) here’s the gist. Each season eight fighters in various weight classes compete against each other with the winner fighting the current champ or possibly fighting another season’s winner to crown a new champion. Bellator’s modo is “Where championships are earned, not given away”.

This format made so much sense when the promotion first started. It was an easy way over the course of three months to determine who the champs would be. It also provided us with several amazing fights through out the course of the season. Now that Bellator is about to kick off their seventh season (plus two mini Summer Series seasons) the question about champs defending their belts is becoming more relevant.

For the most part, each season has hosted only four different weight classes and with two seasons a year, that makes for a champ only being able to defend his title a single time in the course of the year and fight in a non-title fight the rest (be it inside Bellator or at another promotion).

But that’s about to change according Bjorn Rebney, CEO of Bellator. He recently spoke to MMAJunkie about the move to SpikeTV in 2013 and part of the plan is to expand to six tournaments per season. There are eight titles and with six tournaments going during the course of a season, that would make the majority of the belts defended at least twice a year. The motive Bjorn said is that UFC champs typically fight 2-3 times per year and that’s what he is wanting his champs to do.

So now that we have a system in place for the champs to fight more often, then the question is how quickly should the champs fight provided there is a contender. My answer is the sooner the better. It has been proven time and time again, that if you wait for a fight to happen, something is bound to screw it up. And then when that original fight finally materializes the same level of drama or appeal might not be there or the fighters themselves are different (think Evans vs Jones or Liddell vs Silva).

Now let’s break down the questions that Dave really asked. The first being implied that Bellator should allow non-tournament fighters the chance to fight for the belt. The question I have as an answer is why? The tournament gives us a clear cut number one contender and in the case of the current featherweights, two number one contenders. No one can argue that someone other than Patricio Freire and Daniel Straus should be fighting Pat Curran in Bellator.

But of course there’s the flipside, like when Ben Askren won a close decision against Jay Hieron. Hieron wanted a rematch, but was told he had to go do the tournament. He opted to get out of his Bellator contract instead. Or the case of Eddie Alvarez, the first lightweight champ who arguably could make the best case for a rematch after his loss to Chandler.

But if a rematch is going to be granted, or non-tournament winners given a title shot, that lessens the value of the tournament and what Bellator is about. It’s a little different with other sports where championships are given each year, but imagine if the NFL automatically gave one of the Superbowl spots to the defending champ? Or imagine if the NFL decided that this years Superbowl was going to feature the Giants versus the Broncos just because they want a Manning versus Manning Superbowl. It just doesn’t make sense.

In fighting, you have a champ who should defend his belt as often as he can against the next best guy at that point in time. Bellator’s tournament format allows that to happen. I am more intrigued by a Bellator champ defending his belt than what is going to take place in a couple weeks at UFC 152 between Jon Jones and Vitor Belfort. As I stated in a previous article, champs and title contenders should be ready at any time. So no, I don’t think it will be their downfall.

Now to the second part of that question about long time champs who lose their belt having to go to the back of the line so to speak. This also holds true for tournament winners, as previously mentioned with Hieron. Do I think that a champ who loses his belt should have to go to the back of the line? Yes. And here’s why.

I HATE immediate rematches. I think the only time one could make a case for an immediate rematch is if the fight was ruled a no-contest or a draw. Even the later I am not 100% on board with. If you are the challenger, you must beat the champ to win. Now I don’t mean you have to finish the champ, or lay an ass whooping on the champ. You just have to have your hand raised at the end of the fight. Even if it is the most boring fight ever, if you are the challenger, and the judges saw you winning the fight, you won the fight.

So if you lost, you lost. That means you should be heading not necessarily to the back of the line (in the UFC that’s a very long way), but definitely not the next person to challenge for the belt. And since Bellator is about earning your title shot, what better way than to do it the way you did before, by fighting three times in twelve weeks and proving that you are the number one contender.

There is an added benefit of fighting in the tournament and winning it, the pay. Several Bellator fighters both on and off record have stated that winning the tournament was huge for their financial outcome, but that fighting for the title, or even defending the title, wasn’t near as profitable.

While the numbers are not available for what the fighters make per fight, one only has to look at Pat Curran’s career in Bellator. In 2010 he fought three times and won all three fights earning $100,000 for the three fights. Then he fought Eddie Alvarez and lost. Odds are likely that he did not make that kind of money for his losing performance. After he entered the next tournament and again won three fights and again earning $100,000. Did he earn $33,000 from Bellator for the Warren victory? I don’t know. What I do know is other title contenders and holders off record have stated that it would be better for financially to fight in the tournament, win, lose the title, then do another tournament.

Finally, the question of is it disrespectful to the former champs to not earn an immediate rematch. I say it depends on how that fighter is then marketed. If the new champ is marketed as the savior and the former champ as a villain, then yes. If however the former champ is marketed as the former champ and should be treated as such, then no. Look at Peyton Manning, the guy is one of the best quarterbacks of all time. This season, after multiple surgeries and a new team, many NFL experts are quick to point out, a Peyton Manning at 80% is still better than almost all the quarterbacks in the league.

I am not saying that certain champs shouldn’t have the right to ask for an immediate rematch, but if the rules of the game say you can’t have one, then you can’t have one. And that is what makes Bellator so exciting. Every fighter who competes in the tournament knows they are just three fights away from a title shot. There are fighters who are completely fine with having to go back and try again, look at Daniel Straus who nearly won his first attempt, lost in the finals, then came back the next season to win. Or a guy like Lyman Good who was the champ and now is trying to earn his way back. Or Ben Saunders who keeps on trying and entertaining the fans the entire way.

What makes Bellator stand out from the UFC and other shows is the tournament format. It provides a clear cut number one contender. People like tournaments to determine who is the best. It’s why college football is moving to a playoff schedule starting in 2014.

Ask MMARecap is a weekly feature where users submit questions. If your question is answered you will receive your choice of print from Art by JMC. The prints include Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, Royce Gracie, BJ Penn, Carlos Condit, Georges St-Pierre, Nick Diaz, Nate Diaz, Jose Aldo, Dominic Cruz, Frankie Edgar, Junior Dos Santos, Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, Wanderlei Silva, Dan Henderson, Brock Lesnar, Fabricio Werdum and Cain Velasquez. To submit your question, leave a comment here or on our facebook page when we ask for questions.

Bellator 60 Post-Fight Video Interviews

Written by MMARecap Staff on . Posted in Interviews, Videos

In case you missed the videos posted on our Facebook page or our Youtube channel, here’s all of the post-fight video interviews we took after Bellator 60. The list includes Bjorn Rebney, Pat Curran, Mike Corey, Kenny Foster, Marlon Sandro, Daniel Straus, Brian Butler, and Felice Herrig.

Bjorn Rebney

Pat Curran

Mike Corey

Kenny Foster

Marlon Sandro

Daniel Straus

Brian Butler

Felice Herrig

Bellator 60: Featherweight Championship – Curran vs. Warren Play-by-Play

Written by MMARecap Staff on . Posted in Results

Round One: Immediately after touching gloves, Warren landed a low leg kick on the outside of Curran’s left leg. Huge drive for a takedown from Warren, but Curran got back to his feet almost instantly. Warren pressed Curran against the cage with a body lock and worked for a takedown. From here, knees were delivered from Warren to soften Curran up. Curran showed a great base on his feet and calmness on his face. They break from the cage and gained the Thai clinch and trade strikes. They broke clean and restart in the center of the cage. Another follow up takedown after a combo from Warren, but Curran moved back up against the cage. Warren moved from a single leg to take the back of Curran. Curran now put Warren against the cage to make him carry his weight. Warren tried to climb Curran’s back for a dominant position, but Curran  showed good defense and shook Warren off of himself. Crowd erupted with Curran landing kicks and knees to Warren’s face. Warren was visibly stunned but moved forward. Curran remained calm and confident towards the end of the round. Warren dove into the takedown but took one of Curran’s knee to the chest. As Curran chased Warren to the ground, Warren secured a last minute takedown and back control.

Round Two: Both came out a little more methodical until Warren threw a spinning back kick that missed wide. Left hook from Warren then followed by a takedown. Right back to the feet was Curran and they restarted in the center. Curran fired off a jab that landed on Warren’s face. Both canceled each other with a push kick. Nice punch and kick combo from Warren that ended in a strong outside leg kick. Curran showed damaged under the right eye. It was a red mark that ran the length of his cheek. Another takedown attempt from Warren, but Curran defended until they got to the cage. Warren had a body lock and Curran punched the head. They both fought for wrist control and delivered knees to each other’s bodies. A spinning takedown from Warren into side control and Curran on his back. Curran found space and shrimped out from under his opponent to stand up. With less than one minute left, Warren pushed in with a takedown, but delivered knees when he got in close. Curran had center control and Warren was on the outside. Another takedown stuffed by Curran with a follow up kick to end the round.

Round Three: Warren pushed forward strong, but Curran deafened the punches and takedown. Curran countered with an uppercut that stunned Warren. Warren was pushing the action, but Curran getting better of the exchanges as he backs up. Curran caught Warren with a head kick that was partially blocked by Warren and then moved in for the finish. Curran rained down with everything; punches, kicks and knees. Warren is still standing after an onslaught of strikes from Curran. Warren is backed up against the cage and slowly drifted from side to side. He tried to reach out and grab a hold of Curran who then backed away from Warren’s range. Ref gave a ton of chances for Warren to fight back, but Warren was out on his feet. Half of the crowd was screaming for Curran to finish the fight, the other half screamed to stop the fight due to Warren’s safety and health.

Result: New Featherweight Champion: Pat Curran via TKO at 1.25 in round three.

Jeff Curran Talks About His Three Fighters Competing At Bellator

Written by MMARecap Staff on . Posted in Interviews, Videos

Jeff Curran may have a fight coming up, but that isn’t preventing him from doing another job he loves and that is coaching. Team Curran has three fighters competing at Bellator 60 on Friday March 9 at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond Indiana. Curran gives his thoughts on Cory Galloway’s professional debut, Mike Corey dropping weight and his cousin Pat Curran’s title fight.

XFO Leads Pack With Seven Veterans Fighting At Bellator 60

Written by MMARecap Staff on . Posted in News

The longest running promotion in the state of Illinois can say that they are able to send fighters onto the big show. On Friday March 9 at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond Indiana, Bellator 60 takes place and seven of the twenty-two fighters have fought under the XFO Banner with three of those on the main card.

On the main card Pat Curran will get his chance to bring home the first world title to Team Curran while his teammate Mike Corey looks to upset Ronnie Mann as a late replacement entry into the season six tournament. A fighter whom many are calling the dark horse of the featherweight tournament, Daniel Straus, is looking to make another impact on the field of fighters in his second tournament go-around.

On the undercard three veterans of the sport are trying to improve their records. Travis Wiuff will be taking on Anthony Gomez in what could potentially be a tournament qualifier for the next light heavyweight tournament.

Richard White will be competing in a 280lb catchweight bout against Sean McCorkle and look to snap a three-fight losing streak. White suffered his second loss of his career at XFO 30 and followed it up with a five fight win streak.

Bobby Reardanz has competed under the XFO banner five times prior to getting the call to fight for Bellator. He is currently on a two-fight win streak for the first time in nearly two years.

Finally making his professional debut, Cory Galloway will be taking on Jake Nauracy in the bantamweight division. Galloway and Nauracy were both champions in different organizations and surprisingly their paths hadn’t crossed as amateurs.

Team Curran Looks To Showcase Skills At Bellator 60

Written by MMARecap Staff on . Posted in News

On Friday, March 9 at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana, three fighters from Team Curran will look to showcase their skills. Cory Galloway will be making his professional debut, Mike Corey will get his chance in the Bellator tournament, and Pat Curran will be facing Joe Warren for his featherweight title.

Galloway had a successful run as an amateur competing in the XFO. He went 7-1 with redeeming his lone loss in his last fight at XFO 42 against Pedro Velasco. Velasco nearly finished Galloway with a submission, but he was able to escape and put Velasco into a submission of his own.

Corey has arguably one of the most telling stories when it comes to trying to get a shot in the Bellator tournament. He was originally slated to take part in the season two lightweight tournament, but after suffering an injury, his teammate Pat Curran stepped in. Curran went on to win the entire tournament and fight Eddie Alverez for the lightweight title.

Corey since fought for the promotion at Bellator 57 against Chris Horodecki. The fight went to the judges’ scorecards and was ruled a majority draw. The fight was supposed to have the winner move onto the next lightweight tournament but with the draw, neither fighter did.

Corey was then given a chance on the prelims against Bobby Reardanz, but when an injury forced Wagnney Fabiano out against Ronnie Mann, Corey stepped up to the plate.

Finally Curran will be getting his long awaited title shot against Joe Warren. Curran won the summer series featherweight tournament with victories over Luis Palomino, Ronnie Mann and Marlon Sandro. It marked the second tournament Curran had won.

Bellator Featherweight Tournament Preview

Written by MMARecap Staff on . Posted in Editorials

Bellator 60 Poster

Bellator 60 Poster

Bellator’s Season 6 Featherweight Tournament is setting out in its quarterfinal stage at Bellator 60. The new tournament begins under a headliner of season 5 summer series winner Pat Curran’s title shot against Joe Warren. Season 6 kicks off as Marlon Sandro faces off against Roberto Vargas, Mike Corey takes on Ronnie Mann, Alexandre Bezerra fights Kenny Foster, and Daniel Straus faces Jeremy Spoon.

In the season 5 “Summer Series” featherweight tournament, the bracket narrowed down to Curran vs Sandro. The fight was an instant Bellator classic, as Curran cracked Sandro with a second round head-kick, ending the tournament via knockout. The stoppage fueled a fire under Sandro, who has since finished Rafael Dias in the first round via submission.

Curran picked Sandro as his favorite to win the tournament. It is a popular pick, as Sandro seems to be the most veteran fighter in the bracket. Sandro holds an amazing 20-3 record, mostly built up of knockouts and submissions. He will face a stiff test in 12-1 Vargas, who is a submission specialist himself with four submission stoppages to his credit.

Ronnie Mann was originally scheduled to fight Waggney Fabiano, but Fabiano had to pull out of the contest due to injury. Now Mann squares off against a team Curran stand-out, Mike Corey. A high school wrestler, Corey uses that base along with stellar Jiu-Jitsu to win fights. He is up against the greatest test of his career as he faces a tall task in Mann. Making it to the semifinals of season 5’s tournament, Mann lost a decision to Curran. He has since rebounded with a win over Kenny Foster, and is considered a high seed in the tournament.

Alexandre Bezerra is a man on a mission. He flys into this tournament with four Bellator wins at his back. The submission specialist has forced eight opponents to surrender via tap-out, and hopes to keep his streak going against Kenny Foster. Foster was originally slated to fight on the under-card, but was bumped up into the tournament after weigh-in issues forced Genair Da Silva off of the card. It would be the biggest upset of any if Foster can pull off a win against Bezerra.
Daniel Straus is another impressive record holder on this card at 21-4. Despite being a wrestler at heart, Straus has finished many opponents via TKO. He holds a 3-1 record in Bellator, dropping his most recent Bellator fight to Patrico Freire. He is slated against a ground expert in Jeremy Spoon. Spoon has finished eight of his twelve fights by submission, with an overall record of 12-0. This is a drop down in weight for Spoon, who usually fights at 155 pounds. Straus is certainly the toughest test in Spoons short but successful career, but he stands a solid chance, and Spoon could easily be the dark horse in this tournament.

Mike Corey Gets Chance In Bellator Tournament

Written by MMARecap Staff on . Posted in News

Mike CoreyAn undisclosed injury has forced Wagnney Fabiano out of his quarterfinal fight against Ronnie Mann. A replacement was sought and quickly found in Team Curran’s Mike Corey.

Corey was originally supposed to partake in the season two lightweight tournament. When he became injured, his teammate Pat Curran stepped in and won the entire tournament. Curran has since won a second tournament in his proper weight class at featherweight.

Corey, a lightweight, will be making the drop to featherweight for his chance at Bellator gold. In his Bellator debut fight against Chris Horodecki, many thought Horodecki would just run through Corey. But Corey was a game opponent surprising many. While many members of the media had scored the fight for Horodecki, two judges saw the fight as a draw and thus it was ruled.

Mann looks to try his hand at the featherweight tournament a second time. The first outing was during Bellator’s summer series event where he knocked out Adam Schindler in the first round of the tournament.

He was matched up with Pat Curran in the semi-finals and lost a unanimous decision and his chance at a title shot. He followed up the loss with a triangle submission over Kenny Foster at Bellator 53 in October.

Bellator 60 takes place on Friday, March 9 from the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana. The preliminary fights will air live on with the main card airing live on MTV 2.