Bellator 112 took place on Friday, March 14, from the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind., continuing the promotion’s Season 10 streak of exciting main event finishes.
The promotion’s first three events of 2014 kicked things off strong with Alexander Shlemenko, Rampage Jackson, and Eduardo Dantas all scoring exciting finishes. Pat Curran didn’t do anything to disrupt the trend on Friday night.
Daniel Straus entered the main event with the Bellator featherweight championship wrapped around his waist, wanting to prove his worth to everyone by defeating the man that he took it from in Curran.
In the end, Straus may have lost the belt, but he gave a strong accounting of himself along the way, not leaving any doubts that he belongs among the upper echelon of featherweight division.
Despite Curran starting strong, Straus stayed on his game, landing a deep choke near the end of the first frame, and then rocking Curran repeatedly with punches and kicks in the second stanza.
The third round was a good representation of how evenly matched Straus and Curran are, and the fight that resides deep inside each of them. Straus started the round strong with some excellent striking, only to have Curran take control, landing some solid knees. The momentum flowed back and forth between them throughout the round, as it did much of the fight.
Straus and Curran hugged it out in a show of appreciation to open the final round, but then immediately opened up a flurry of punches, cracking each other repeatedly across the face.
They kept at it for the majority of the final frame, but Curran held the belt for a year and a half prior to losing it to Straus last November, and he dug into that well of experience, employing his championship mettle to find a way to win.
Not wanting to leave it up to the judges, Curran put considerable effort into taking Straus to the mat in the final 90 seconds of the fight, clawed his way onto Straus’ back, and stayed there until he forced Straus to tap out with 14 ticks left on the clock.
Straus, however, didn’t hang his head after the fight, immediately congratulating Curran on a fight well fought.
“All I can say is mad respect for Daniel Straus. He’s a hell of a fighter, has a hell of a heart,” said Curran after the fight, his right eye nearly swollen shut.
“All my blood, sweat, and tears go into this. This is my passion. This is my life. I’m just happy I got my belt back and I can go home and relax.”
He won’t get to relax for too long, however, as Curran is expected to defend the belt against Patricio “Pitbull” Freire later this year.
The Bellator Season 10 welterweight tournament got underway on Friday night as well with Andrey Koreshkov and Sam Oropeza making early statements en route to punching their tickets into the semifinal round.
Koreshkov took about half a minute to feel out Nah-Shon Burrell, but when he decided to move, he made it count. He landed a body kick while his knee clipped Burrell’s chin, putting him on all fours. Koreshkov followed him down and landed several powerful follow-up punches from Burrell’s back that ended the fight just 41 seconds into the opening round.
Cristiano Souza, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, did everything he could to get the fight to the ground, but Oropeza would have none of it. He landed a hard kick to the body and followed with a right hook that sent Souza awkwardly to the mat. Oropeza landed a couple more follow punches and it was all over, moving him on to the next round.
Adam McDonough and Nathan Coy also earned births into the welterweight semis by scoring unanimous decision victories over Jesse Juarez and Paul Bradley, respectively.
Oropeza will next square off with Koreshkov as part of the welterweight final four, while McDonough and Coy meet in the other half of the bracket.
Pat Curran def. Daniel Straus by Sub (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:46, R5
Andrey Koreshkov def. Nah-Shon Burrell by KO (Knee, Punches) at 0:41, R1
Sam Oropeza def. Cristiano Souza by TKO (Punches) at 3:07, R1
Adam McDonough def. Jesse Juarez by Unan Dec (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Nathan Coy def. Paul Bradley by Unan Dec (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Belal Muhammad def. A.J. Matthews by Unan Dec (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Darrion Caldwell def. Lance Surma by Sub (Guillotine Choke) at 0:50, R1
Derek Loffer def. Bobby Reradanz by Unan Dec (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Anthony Gomez def. Jason Guida by Unan Dec (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
Daniel James def. Erick Correa by Sub (Strikes) at 4:30, R2
Diego Marlon def. Lloyd Carter by Sub (Triangle Choke) at 3:10, R2
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