Bellator 106 Preview: Pat Curran vs. Daniel Straus

Pat Curran (19-4, 9-1 BFC) vs. Daniel Straus (21-4, 7-1 BFC)

The Bellator Featherweight Championship is on the line when Pat Curran defends the title for the second time against season five featherweight tournament winner Daniel Straus in a bout both have been anticipating for quite some time. Curran is defending the title for the third time as he puts a six-fight win streak on the line. He is coming off a knockout win over Shahbulat Shamhalaev in April. Straus enters the fight on a five-fight win streak but hasn’t fought in over a year, which was a submission win over Alvin Robinson in October 2012.

Fight Breakdown- This will be the second time that Curran and Straus have fought and Curran is looking to be the one who remains the victor of the two fighters. Curran and Straus fought in the XFO promotion in April 2009. Curran scored the knockout win in the second round in that fight, but there was a lot going on during that bout. Prior to that bout, Curran had fought six times in 2008, his first year of competition, but was coming off a four-month layoff. Straus debuted in 2009, and the Curran fight was his seventh fight in a span of just over two months, so he had seen a lot of action. As both men enter this fight, they have had plenty of time to get ready. Curran hasn’t fought since April and Straus hasn’t fought since October 2012. They were supposed to fight when Curran fought in April, but Straus suffered a broken hand during training and was forced out of the bout.

Curran defeated Shahbulat Shamhalaev in that fight in April, which came after wins over Joe Warren to win the Bellator Featherweight Championship, and a win over Patricio Freire in his first title defense. Curran’s only loss in Bellator came to Eddie Alvarez in a Bellator Lightweight Championship bout, and he is 10-1 over his last eleven fights, and he has gotten better at finishing fights since the decision loss to Alvarez. Since losing to Curran, Straus has gone 17-1 with his only loss coming to Patricio Freire in May 2011 in the Bellator Season Four Featherweight Tournament Finals. He scored wins over Jeremy Spoon, Mike Corey and Marlon Sandro to win the season six tournament, earning his chance to erase the loss to Curran. He isn’t always pretty in winning as more than half of his wins have come by decision, but he has a durable and grinding style made to win fights, and if he can keep his outside of the cage issues to a minimum, he could be the next 145-pound champion.

Curran is one of the most well-rounded featherweights in the sport as he has solid striking, wrestling and grappling. He will need all of that against Straus as Straus likes to make fights into a grind using sound work in the clinch. Straus likes to bully his opponents around using his strength, but he will likely find that very difficult to do against Curran. Curran has good takedown defense and should be able to keep this fight on the feet, but if it were to hit the ground, he has excellent submissions. Straus has good takedown defense as well, so he could be able to keep this fight upright should Curran shoot in for the takedown, and takedowns are what could make the difference in this fight as Straus is more likely to try and utilize them to score points as Curran will have the edge on the feet.

Curran does tend to get flat-footed on the feet, but his timing is sound, he has good footwork and smart movement. He uses his angles well, and he is solid when countering. Straus isn’t as fast on the feet as Curran is, and he doesn’t have the explosiveness to score on the feet, and Curran is going to light him up while standing. Curran punches strong, uses his leg kicks well and will switch it up occasionally and use flying knees. Curran is super intelligent when fighting, and he will find openings wherever this fight goes. With it being 25 minutes, conditioning will be a huge factor. Straus has good conditioning, but that mostly comes into play when he can dictate the pace of the fight. He likely won’t be able to do that against Curran, and his conditioning will be even more of a factor when he’s behind, and that is without mentioning his long layoff. This fight is tailor-made for Curran to win, and the outcome will likely be similar to their first encounter with Curran picking up another stoppage win.

Why It Matters- Curran is the best 145-pound fighter not in the UFC, and he will be the king at featherweight in the Bellator promotion as long as he sticks around. There will not be a shortage of challengers, though, as Bellator has signed some new talent to hopefully give him fresh challenges. Straus could throw a monkey wrench into all of this if he were to upset Curran, though that will be a tough task. This is a solid second from top fight and hopefully the casual audience will tune in and see these two go to work, especially Curran, because he is a magnificent fighter. Patricio Freire and Justin Wilcox will be fighting in a couple of weeks, and the winner of that fight will be the next challenger, and either Curran or Straus will be waiting.

Prediction- Curran

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