LONG BEACH, Calif. – Daniel Straus said he was a different fighter than the first time he met Pat Curran. And that very well may be.
But he was very much the same fighter he’s been under the Bellator banner, grinding Bellator’s featherweight champion down over 25 minutes to score the upset and capture the promotion’s 145-pound title.
The featherweight title bout was part of today’s Bellator 106 event at Long Beach Arena in California. It aired on Spike TV following prelims on MMAjunkie.com.
Curran kicked high, then stepped inside for a combo. Straus swung wildly seconds later and missed, but then dove in and took Curran to the ground. But Curran got back to his feet and pushed off to get back to the center. Straus landed a solid kick to the body and came behind it with a good left hand. Curran tried to answer to the body and head. The two got inside with each other and traded before Straus tried to bully Curran to the fence. Straus again wanted the fight on the canvas, but he couldn’t do much offensively there.
Straus got a left hand through and stayed active while Curran waited for a counter-striking opportunity. But Straus kicked to the body, then couldn’t move in quickly enough when Curran slipped moving backward. Curran worked a kick to the body and a nice 1-2 combo behind it, then land some solid body punches while Straus tried to tie him up with a Thai plum. Straus continued to find a home for kicks to the body, and those made Curran answer back. The two traded solid left hands as the second closed out in another close frame.
Curran landed a good knee early in the third, but moments later Straus looked for one and a leaping kick just missed the mark. Straus looked for a takedown a minute in, but Curran defended it for more than a minute. Straus finally was able to throw Curran, but right into the fence, allowing Curran to pop right back up.
But after Straus tripped Curran down, Curran again was right back up – and leveled Straus with a knee while he was grounded. Curran knew it immediately. After Straus had some time to recover, referee Jason Herzog took a point away from Curran. On the restart, Straus came out hard and got a solid takedown and passed to side control. Curran recovered to guard, but with the point deduction and a round that probably went to Straus, the champ was in a world of trouble.
Straus wanted takedowns again early in the fourth, and he finally dragged the champ to the canvas a minute in. Curran was back up quickly, but with Straus still draped all over him. And seconds later, he got a slam takedown and looked to take Curran’s back. But the champ scrambled around to guard, where he tried to work on chokes from the bottom. He had a guillotine, but Straus managed to survive it. Straus tried a choke of his own with Curran bleeding from his scalp, but he had to go to the fifth.
Curran landed a right in the fifth, but not long after that ate a flying knee. Then Straus landed a left hand that clearly had Curran hurt, and he backed him up with a few more before tying the champ up. While there, the challenger gave a thumbs-up to his corner, knowing he was well on his way to capturing Curran’s title. Straus got a takedown late, and that sealed the deal.
“It’s a good feeling,” Straus said. “I worked really hard with my team at (American Top Team). Pat Curran is a tough dude, and I will see him again. I will. I know it.”
Straus (22-4 MMA, 8-1 BMMA) won for the sixth straight time. Curran (19-5 MMA, 9-2 BMMA) had a six-fight winning streak snapped and lost for the first time in two and a half years.
Up-to-the-minute Bellator 106 results include:
- Daniel Straus def. Pat Curran via unanimous decision (49-45, 48-46, 48-46)
- Joe Riggs def. Mike Bronzoulis via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Mike Richman def. Akop Stepanyan via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 4:05
- Cristiano Souza def. Alejandro Garcia via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 3, 3:06
- Brandon Halsey def. Hector Ramirez via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 0:52
- Mike Guymon def. Aaron Miller via submission (triangle choke) – Round 2, 4:20
- Cleber Luciano def. Joe Camacho via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Josh Smith def. Darren Smith via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
For more on Bellator 106, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of the site.
Steven Marrocco contributed to this report on-site in Long Beach.
(Thanks to @Internetican for the gif)