Before Bellator, Pat Curran put Daniel Straus to sleep with a knockout punch in round two under Xtreme Fighting Organization (XFO) back in 2009.
"Paddy Mike," riding a six-fight mixed martial arts (MMA) win streak and owning Bellator's Featherweight belt, was out to do Straus dirty once again tonight (Sat., Nov. 2, 2013) at Bellator 106, which took place at Long Beach Arena in Long Beach, Calif., airing live on Spike TV.
It didn't happen.
Straus -- the 145-pound Season 6 tournament winner who was forced to the sidelines with a broken hand (and drug charges) for more than one year up until this evening -- got off on the right foot, scoring an early takedown that would keep him out of power-punching danger. Curran quickly returned to his feet and patiently waited to land his shots, illustrating his gameplan was completely opposite.
For all intents and purposes, the first round was nothing more than a barometer for each fighter, neither of whom were eager to force the action too soon with the match scheduled for four more (little did we know, painful to watch) rounds.
Straus came out for the second stanza with more pep in his step, pushing the pace like he normally does and seemingly frustrating Curran, who was unable to get off any clean shots sans a few solid body blows. If Curran did begin to put together his strikes, Straus was quick to close the distance, threaten with a take down and then peel away.
It was a close round, which Straus might have stolen near the end with two nice left hooks that landed and his overall cage control.
Curran emerged from his corner to start the third with seemingly more of a purpose, taking the fight to Straus and making him miss. Shortly thereafter, Straus went back to the basics, working for more than one minute on a takedown along the fence that Curran defended well. He was able to dump Curran on his face with a nice throw, but the champion was back on his feet in a split second.
It was on his second attempt when disaster struck -- Straus went for another trip, which was just like the first, but Curran drilled him with an illegal knee on his way back up this time. Straus was clearly hurt bad, while Curran walked away clearly disappointed with the errant strike.
Straus was able to continue after several minutes to clear the cobwebs. Curran, meanwhile, was deducted a critical point in a close fight.
Round four was, unfortunately, more of the same, with Straus intent on making it an ugly fight along the fence, doing some dirty boxing between takedown attempts. Curran, for his part, basically played blanket defense, but he struggled mightily for 3.5 excruciating minutes. He attempted what appeared to be a tight guillotine choke from his back, but Straus popped his head out after about 30 uncertain seconds and went back to work.
Straus, in the midst of his methodical ground-and-pound was somehow able to open up a cut on Curran's forehead as the round came to a close.
The fifth and final frame was more of Curran's speed, on the feet, but Straus appeared to get the better of the exchanges in the first-half of action. He landed the better shots, more frequently, but didn't get greedy, tying up Curran and going back to work along the fence. Curran tried to make up the difference in the final 30 seconds with a takedown, but Straus ended up in top position as the final bell blared.
It was too little, too late. And very ugly. But, Straus did what he had to do to earn a unanimous decision victory, with the Curran point deduction not even playing a role in the final result.
For complete Bellator 106: "Chandler vs. Alvarez 2" results, including complete play-by-play coverage of the Spike TV main card, click here.