One of three title fights at this weekend’s Bellator 106 event is a five-round fight for the Bellator featherweight championship between titleholder Pat Curran and challenger Daniel Straus. The current betting line for the fight sees Curran as a -350 betting favorite (bet $350 to win $100), while Straus is a +250 dog (bet $100 to win $250) at Several Bookmakers. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened Curran at -305 and Straus at +225, meaning the early action is on the champion Curran to retain his title. I agree with the early action as I am also picking Curran to win this rematch against Straus. Here’s why. The first thing to note is that this fight is actually a rematch. Curran (19-4) and Straus (21-4) first fought in 2008 at an XFO event. At the time, Curran had six career pro MMA fights while Straus also had only six fights under his belt. In the first round, Straus was able to push Curran against the fence, but he wasn’t able to mount any offense and instead it was actually Curran who was attacking with knees from the clinch. To most square judges, the round was probably hard to score because Straus was the one doing the pushing, but anyone who knows how to score a fight properly gave Curran the frame. Regardless, the first round didn’t end up mattering because Curran was able to stay away from Straus’ clinch and beat him with his superior stand-up skills, and he soon ended up finishing the fight with a clean knockout from punches. I know that fight was five years ago, but I really feel that since then Curran is the one who has improved the most between these two. If you look at Curran’s resume in Bellator, it really is unbelievable. He started his promotionalcareer as a lightweight and he won the tournament, but after losing to Eddie Alvarez by decision he dropped down to featherweight and has since really torn things up as a 145-er, first winning the tournament and then knocking out Joe Warren in brutal fashion to claim the title. He’s since then defended his title two times, against Patricio Pitbull and Shahbulat Shamhalaev, and now for his third title defense he takes on his old nemesis, Straus. Since losing to Curran earlier in his career, Straus has gone 17-1 with the only loss coming to Pitbull, who is one of the best featherweights in the world. It’s a great record for sure, but the difference for me is that Straus has been winning fights by decision where as Curran has been finishing guys with highlight-reel knockouts and submissions. Although Straus has been able to implement his size and strength on his other opponents, Curran is a big featherweight and if he can stay out of Straus’ clinch, he will have the advantage anywhere the fight goes. This is a good fight, and it’s going to be hard fought, but at the end of five rounds or less I expect that Curran gets his hand raised. And then, maybe, he’ll finally get the respect he deserves.