Bellator 112, as from the Horseshoe Casino is Chicago, Illinois, is in the books and what a night of fights and finishes it was.
The star of the card was its brilliant top.
The main event featured Daniel Straus defending his BMMA featherweight title for the first time and against the very man that he took it from last November, Pat Curran. The bout marked the third meeting of the pair and would determine not only who the new featherweight champ would be, but also, which fighter would lay claim to their trilogy set.
As it would turn out, it would be Pat Curran.
It was a great fight and offered tons of drama, and particularly at its end. “Paddy Mike” was easily down three rounds to one going into the fifth and needed to stop Straus, and that’s exactly what he did. It was truly a beautiful moment and one that fans got to enjoy for the better part of a minute, as Straus bravely fought it off, but ultimately failed. The ending was, in a word, dramatic.
As such, the main event, combined with the other two stoppages on the night, gave Bellator another winning evening of Friday night fights. Of particular note was Sam Oropeza round one KO of Cristiano Souza. It was a beautiful, heavy right hook, clean to jaw from a big welterweight. If you missed it make sure to catch it in replay.
All in all, it was another solid night of Bellator MMA. Up next for the promotion is their Bellator 113 card and Attila Vegh vs. Emanuel Newton, as they do battle for the BMMA light-heavyweight title. As for Pat Curran, he will defend his title later this year against season nine featherweight tournament winner Patrício Freire.
Here’s the cards recap and results:
Fight # 1: Adam McDonough vs. Jesse Juarez
McDonough vs. Juarez was pretty much a slow burn event. Neither fighter exhibited much in the way of stand-up, with most of the bout taking place on the ground. Juarez was the aggressor in the match and by the effort that he put into trying to take McDonough down, it was obvious he wanted the fight on the mat. However, McDonough proved tough to take down and once there, even harder to do anything with. In a number of instances Juarez found himself stuffed under the weight of McDonough, with his back to him and taking shots. In terms of damage done by Juarez there was none. All in all, McDonough was the better man in a ho-hum fight. As the clock ran out the verdict had to be rendered by the judges; winner by unanimous decision and moving on to the semi-final rounds of the welterweight tournament, Adam McDonough.
Fight #2: Sam Oropeza vs. Cristiano Souza
Well, that was short and sweet. As the two fighters squared off fans couldn’t help but notice the size difference between the pair. By way of comparison, it looked as if Chris Weidman were taking on Hector Lombard. Oropeza was clearly the bigger man. However, Souza came out aggressively and dynamically. Indeed, he threw himself at Oropeza in an antempted scissors takedown nearly scored it. As the fight went over the first couple of minutes the two fighters clinched, with Souza demonstrating himself to be quite strong. In fact, he was holding his own with the larger Oropeza. However, the fight broke from the cage and with the fighters separated Oropeza came forward with a hard kick, and with his opponent backing up Oropeza leapt in with a thunderous right hook, catching Souza cleanly on the jaw. With Souza collapsed to the ground, Oropeza leaned over his opponent and hit him with three solid lefts. From there the referee stepped in and waived the fight off; winner by KO at the 3:07 mark of the first round and advancing to the welterweight semi-finals, Sam Oropeza.
Fight #3: Andrey Koreshkov vs. Nah’Shon Burrell
The recap of this fight will take longer to write than the fight itself did. In short, this was a quick match and one with a beautiful stoppage. Burrell came out lively. He was bouncing around and demonstrating a lot of movement, and looked to be trying to establish his range. Koreshkov followed him and there was a minor exchange. When they met again Burrell issued forth with a left jab and Koreshkov hit him with a high right kick just below Burrell’s extended arm on nis torso. With it, Koreshkov might also have caught Burrell on the chin with his knee. Either way, Burrell went down. As he did Koreshkov followed him. With Burrell turtled up, Koreshkov came up from behind his opponent and hit him with three hard rights and a few hard lefts. With that the referee stepped in and stopped the fight; winner by TKO at the forty-one second mark of the first round and moving on to the welterweight semi-finals, Andrey Koreshkov.
Fight # 4 Pat Curran vs. Daniel Straus
What to say about this fight other than Wow! It was great. The first three rounds were truly something else. Well contested and high paced, Curran took the first of the triumvirate. “Paddy Mike” came out quickly and aggressively, and seemed to catch the featherweight camp off guard. However, Straus seemed to come alive near the end of the round and scoring a takedown of Curran, looked for a moment as if he might submit “Paddy Mike” and end the fight early. Alas, the choke was not in deep enough and the clock expired, and gave Curran his release.
The next three rounds went to the champ. He clearly got the better of Curran and in the second, it again seemed like Strauss would finish his opponent. Caught unaware after a half-hearted leg kick, Straus stepped in with a big straight left and throttled Curran, dropping him to the mat. For a moment it looked like Straus had his man. However, Curran survived it and they continued on. In the third, Straus probably carried the day with takedowns and better striking, but Curran hit him with some nasty knees that surely must have hurt. By the fourth the pair were slowing in pace and the round showed little of the spark of the first three. With the limited action in it, Straus took the five minutes.
Going into the fifth, Curran needed a stoppage to win. With the round’s time draining and not much activity going on Curran scored a takedown. And with a little more than a minute on the clock and Straus stuffed up against the cage, “Paddy Mike” started sinking in a choke submission. As time drained away, Strauss gave the thumbs up that he was okay and it began to look as if Curran’s effort was too little, too late. But suddenly, with 14 seconds left on the clock Straus tapped, and the fight was over; winner by rear-naked-choke at the 4:46 mark of the fifth round and new BMMA featherweight champion, Pat “Paddy Mike” Curran.