It seems like a lifetime ago that Pat Curran was known as ‘Paddy Mike’ and a prospect on the TapouT reality show, and the younger cousin of UFC fighter Jeff Curran.
On Saturday night, Curran capped off his second Bellator tournament title with a thunderous knockout of Marlon Sandro to take home another $100,000 bonus, and earn a shot at champion Joe Warren.
Curran was a decided underdog the last time he entered a Bellator tournament, when he was fighting at 155lbs during the promotion’s 2nd season. What resulted was Curran winning the tournament, but falling just short in his bid to become champion when he faced Bellator lightweight king Eddie Alvarez.
Back down at his natural weight of 145lbs, Curran looked like one of the odds on favorites to win the whole tournament from day one and didn’t disappoint with his performance at Bellator 48.
Always an aggressive fighter, Marlon Sandro definitely played his part, swinging hard and heavy from the moment go. The Brazilian winged huge shots at Curran’s head, and even opened up a cut over his left eye that resulted in a crimson stream running down his face for the majority of the fight.
It didn’t deter Curran however because he kept firing back and listening to the advice of his corner, headed up by his cousin Jeff. It all paid off in the 2nd round as Sandro continued his blitzing attack, but ducking at just the wrong moment he caught a huge head kick from Curran’s right leg.
Sandro crashed backwards to the mat, while Curran rushed in for a few more punches until the referee could swoop in and make the save. The win gives Curran his 2nd Bellator tournament title and another big check to add to his back account.
“I’m speechless,” said Curran after the win. “I can’t explain it, it feels great.”
Curran will celebrate by cashing the check, but may have to wait a while to get his crack at Bellator’s featherweight champion because Joe Warren is already set to kick off his goal of becoming a two weight class title holder when he enters the bantamweight tournament kicking off in September.
Cole Konrad vs. Paul Buentello
Bellator heavyweight champion Cole Konrad kept his record perfect by defeating former UFC heavyweight contender Paul Buentello after a unanimous decision at Bellator 48.
A former NCAA wrestling champion, Konrad decided to show off his improved stand-up and spent the majority of the fight on his feet, working his jab and keeping Buentello off balance with his mix of strikes.
While the fight was anything but a barnburner, Konrad was effective in his strategy because it looked like his game plan to stand and trade was the exact opposite of what Buentello was expecting. A slip in the third round finally landed Buentello on the mat and Konrad followed up with some heavy punches and a rear naked choke attempt, but eventually the fight got stood back up after inactivity.
After three rounds of fighting, Konrad picked up the decision win moving his record to 8-0.
“I took a lot of criticism for just wrestling, I wanted to come out and show against a great striker that I can stand up,” said Konrad.
Now Bellator’s top heavyweight will await the upcoming tournament to declare the next man who will get a shot at his title.
Ricco Rodriguez vs. Seth Petruzelli
Heavyweight, light heavyweight or catchweight. It didn’t seem to matter much to Seth Petruzelli what weight he fought Ricco Rodriguez, and it showed as he knocked out the former UFC heavyweight champion in the first round.
Normally a 205lb fighter, Petruzelli took a catchweight bout against Rodriguez at 230lbs in Bellator, but it was his speed and power that won him the fight. Knowing full well he was facing an Abu Dhabi grappling champion, Petruzelli wanted nothing to do with Rodriguez on the mat, but didn’t seem to give up his aggressiveness to avoid a takedown.
Beating Rodriguez to the punch with each exchange, one sloppy takedown attempt from the former UFC champion was all Petruzelli needed to know he wasn’t going to hit the ground unless he wanted to go there.
From there, Petruzelli started to unload more strikes and caught Rodriguez with two spinning back kicks. As Rodriguez bull rushed his opponent to try and land something of his own, he instead caught Petruzelli’s right hand straight to the mush.
Rodriguez crashed to the canvas and a few more hammer fists from Petruzelli earned the Florida based fighter his 2nd win in a row. The loss stops Rodriguez’s 12 fight win streak.
“That light heavyweight belt for Bellator’s got my name written all over it,” Petruzelli shouted after picking up the win, showing his intentions to head back to 205lbs.
Juan Barrantes vs. Rene Nazare
Rene Nazare punished Juan Barrantes for the better part of 10 minutes in the opening fight for Bellator 48, and the fight was stopped after Barrantes’ eye was shut after the 2nd round ended.
An undefeated prospect, Nazare blasted Barrantes on the feet when the two fighter engaged in a slugfest, and then shot in to take the fight to the mat. From there Nazare continued to open up his offense and left Barrantes a bloody mess.
As the 2nd round ended, Barrantes headed to his corner but the ringside physician was not satisfied with his visibility and called a stop to the fight. Nazare now moves to 10-0 as a pro, and hopes to keep that streak alive with his next bout in Bellator.