Bellator 112: Curran vs. Straus fight card and preview

A quick glance at the match ups adorning tonight's Bellator 112: Curran vs. Straus show, which includes a featherweight title fight and the opening round of the Welterweight Tournament.

Recently unseated featherweight champ Pat Curran gets his chance at redemption against newly minted monarch Daniel Straus in the centerpiece of tonight's Bellator 112 event from the Horseshoe Hammond Casino in Hammond, Indiana. The opening round of the Season 10 Welterweight Tournament -- though sans War Machine -- accounts for the remainder of the four-fight presentation on Spike TV.

Daniel Straus vs. Pat Curran -- Bellator Featherweight championship

After his improbable run to the finals of the Lightweight Tournament in 2010, Pat Curran (19-5) dropped to featherweight and transformed from an overly complacent tactician who lacked urgency into an aggressive madman. Curran notched demonstrative finishes in three of his next four outings (two clean KO's and one Peruvian necktie), the last of which was both one of the most merciless beatings of the year and the victory that christened him featherweight champion.

Some of us can appreciate methodical and calculating fighters. However, we all liked the new Pat Curran better. Unfortunately, Curran apparently dusted off his mild-mannered disguise for his last fight, in which athletic specimen and ever-improving wrestle-boxer Daniel Straus (22-4) coolly coasted to a dominant decision win. One school of thought is that Straus was quite simply the superior fighter. Another is that Curran was noticeably more hesitant than he'd ever been in the later rounds, which oddly coincided with the blatantly illegal knee he landed on a grounded Straus in Round 3:


Regardless of all the theories and speculation, the old Pat Curran best show up tonight. Or ... the second one -- the one who either destroys folks with reckless abandon or patiently awaits the right time and position to unload violence. Because we can all expect the usual Daniel Straus to show up: a gamer who's overly willing to engage and burdens his opponent with nonstop pressure, in the form of either a steady stream of snapping leather or explosive level changes that are unlatched in rhythm.

The burden is on Curran here to prove that he had "an off-night" last time, if that was the case. Straus undoubtedly poses a rough stylistic match up though -- he's constantly moving forward behind a hail of sharp, straight punches and perma-coiled to spring for stifling takedowns. Curran is in dire need of amplifying his offense, even if only to avoid becoming trapped in constant-defense mode while reacting to Straus' unrelenting tempo.


A few expected contestants were forced out of the brackets on short notice, the most prominent being War Machine. That leaves the door wide open for consensus favorite Andrey Koreshkov (14-1), who won the Season 7 Welterweight Tournament but fell short in a title bid against Ben Askren, suffering his first and only loss in the process. Koreshkov meets UFC crossover Nah-Shon Burrell (10-3), a young (age 24) upstart with sound boxing and overall fundamentals.

Proud Pennsylvanian Sam Oropeza (10-2) has graduated from the undercard with the help of consecutive TKO wins in his last two Bellator outings, and meets an interesting prospect in Cristiano Souza (7-0), an undefeated Master of Capoeira.

The two sleepers of the tourney draw one another in the first round: veteran Jesse Juarez (21-8), who'll enter the cage on a solid four-fight roll (which began with a win over the UFC's Robert Whittaker), meets the undefeated Adam McDonough (9-0), who wields a unique combination of wrestling and Taekwondo. McDonough, who scored a TKO via spinning back kick in his Bellator debut, started Taekwondo at age four and went on to compete at and place in the Junior Olympics. And Juarez was more than holding his own against respected assassin Douglas Lima in MFC before succumbing to the black belt's submission acumen, so this should be a good ol' scrap.

The last quarterfinal bout will captain the undercard as wrestlers Paul Bradley (21-5) and Nathan Coy (13-4) square off in a rematch (Coy edged a split decision in 2009). Bradley had a short stint in the UFC consisting of two losses, though the second was a tight split-decision loss to Mike Pierce. Coy was a handful for Tyron Woodley on a 2010 SHOMMA card (split-decision loss) and holds impressive wins over the aforementioned Pierce and Rick Story.

Bellator 112 Main Card (Spike TV at 9:00 p.m. ET)

Daniel Straus vs. Pat Curran -- Bellator Featherweight championship

Nah-Shon Burrell vs. Andrey Koreshkov -- Welterweight Tournament quarterfinals

Cristiano Souza vs. Sam Oropeza -- Welterweight Tournament quarterfinals

Jesse Juarez vs. Adam McDonough -- Welterweight Tournament quarterfinals

Preliminary Card ( and Bloody Elbow at 7:00 p.m. ET)

Paul Bradley vs. Nathan Coy -- Welterweight Tournament quarterfinals
A.J. Matthews vs. Belal Muhammad
Lloyd Carter vs. Diego Marlon
Darrion Caldwell vs. Lance Surma
Derek Loffer vs. Bobby Reardanz
Jason Guida vs. Anthony Gomez
Erick Correa vs. Daniel James

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