CHICAGO, Ill. (1/19/12) - Bellator Season 5 Featherweight Tournament winner Pat Curran stands one win away from realizing his dream. After a brilliant 3-0 tournament run, it was a lightning-fast kick to the head of Marlon Sandro in the final that propelled the 24-year-old rising super star from top prospect to top contender.
Now the contender will get his well-deserved World title shot.
The Chicago-based Bellator Fighting Championships heads back to the Chicago area as Crystal Lake, Illinois' own Pat Curran will take on current Bellator Featherweight Champion "The Baddest Man on the Planet" Joe Warren LIVE from The Venue at The Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana on Friday, March 9. Tickets for this event go on sale at 10 a.m. CT on Friday, January 20 and are available at The Horseshoe Casino, Ticketmaster, www.thevenue-chicago.com, or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Tickets are priced from $42-$107.
The event will broadcast starting at 7 p.m. CT on MTV2 and in commercial-free HD on EPIX. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. CT, with the first fight scheduled for 6 p.m. CT. The preliminary card will be streamed LIVE and FREE around the world on Spike.com starting at 6 p.m. CT.
"Everything is falling into place right now," Curran said. "My hometown is really close to where I'm fighting and I know I'll have the support of my family and friends. This is something that is meant to be."
Even though Curran admits he will have the "home-cage advantage" on March 9, the 24-year-old Crystal Lake native knows the challenge that is right in front of him.
"Even though he's coming off a loss, he's a very dangerous opponent," Curran said of Warren. "He is a very strong wrestler who's going to try to close the distance and work the clinch against me. I'm looking forward to a great fight."
After a one-fight stint at Bantamweight, Joe Warren is back defending his Bellator Featherweight championship. Winner of his last five Featherweight fights, the 35-year-old Denver product has the experience and the cage savvy to bust up Curran's homecoming party.
"The Midwest is known for great fighters and great fight fans," Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said. "To be hosting an event of this magnitude in our backyard is like Christmas morning; plus you get to see Chicagoland's own, rising superstar Pat Curran vie for the World Title against one of the toughest fighters in all of MMA - Joe Warren. As a diehard MMA fan, I can't wait for March 9th to get here at Horseshoe."
Also on this big night in Hammond, the Season 6 Featherweight Tournament kicks off as Season 5 finalist Marlon Sandro takes on Roberto Vargas. A member of the renowned Team Nova Uniao, the 19-3 Sandro is widely regarded as one of the top featherweights in the world. With seven of his 19 wins coming via KO/TKO and three by submission, don't blink when the dangerous Brazilian enters the Bellator cage. A former wrestler at Cal-State Bakersfield, Vargas has used his wrestling pedigree and parlayed that success into a 12-1 mixed martial arts record with three knockouts and four submissions.
Born in Thailand and raised in England, the UK's best featherweight Ronnie Mann has the talent and drive to make a deep run in this season's tournament. A tenacious standup fighter with 10 submission victories on his record, the 20-4 fighter has possibly his toughest test to date when he takes on dangerous veteran Wagnney Fabiano. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and former WEC fighter holds an impressive 14-3 record and adds another true contender to this season's featherweight tournament.
Top featherweight prospect Alexandre "PoPo" Bezerra enters his first Bellator tournament and will face stiff competition in his quarterfinal matchup as the 12-1 submission ace battles fellow Brazilian Genair da Silva. "Junior PDQ" is coming off an impressive victory at Bellator 52, and will be looking to carry that momentum into the tournament on March 9
Daniel Straus returns to the Bellator cage after nearly a year. Straus made a dominant run through the Season 4 Featherweight Tournament, only being stopped by eventual tournament Champion Patricio Pitbull in the finals. When the Ohio native steps into the cage on March 9, it will be against the undefeated Jeremy Spoon, who brings a spotless 12-0 record to the cage, including eight submission victories.
For more information, visit Bellator.com, follow Bellator on Twitter (@BellatorMMA), follow Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney (@BjornRebney) and check out Bellator on Facebook.