Bellator 112 Preview for ‘Straus vs Curran 3’ on Spike TV Tonight (March 14)

Pat CurranHammond, Indiana plays host to to Bellator 112 tonight (March 14, 2014). Viewers on Spike TV will be greeted with a featherweight title rematch that was made, not earned, as well as the first round of the welterweight tournament. After seeing year after year of basically the same contenders in the welterweight tournament, this should bring about quite a few surprises.

In the main event, we have a trilogy-completing fight, as Daniel Straus (22-4) defends his featherweight title against the man who he took it from at Bellator 106, Pat Curran (19-5). Much griping has been done over the booking of this match. Sure, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said that the tournament determined challengers, but he gave a rematch to Curran even though Straus basically smothered him for 25 minutes in their last outing. Curran is still a big, strong featherweight who has good stand up and power, but in my personal opinion, he’s spectacular in no particular area. Straus however, is spectacular in the wrestling department, and he’s used his superior grappling to win six in a row and 18 out of his last 19 fights. His only previous loss was to Patricio Freire, who he should be fighting as Pitbull won the most recent featherweight tournament. The drama. Curran knocked out Straus back in 2009, and while that could certainly be a likely outcome for this, it seems like Straus has figured out the Curran puzzle. Keep in mind the champion’s weight cut was so difficult that he had to cut his hair.
The welterweight tournament opening round will be headlined by former tournament winner Andrey Koreshkov (14-1) versus Strikeforce and UFC vet Nah’Shon Burrell (11-3). Burrell was surprisingly cut from the UFC after going 1-1 in the promotion and 3-1 in Strikeforce, with his best win coming over Yuri Villefort. He won his Bellator debut at Bellator 108 over Jesus Martinez in a grindfest, which he will likely try to do here. Ben Askren basically laid the roadmap for defeating Koreshkov – get on top. The striker is dangerous no doubt, but if Burrell can work his wrestling and pressure Koreshkov to the ground, the Russian’s eight knockouts won’t come into play. That’s easier said than done, of course. Koreshkov at only 23-years-old is a world Pankration badass and an elite athlete. He’s likely worked on his holes and will be ready for what Burrell has in store for him.
Next up is Fightmaster standout Cristiano Souza (7-0) taking on Sam Oropeza (10-2). This is going to be a good fight if both men decide to stand and wang. Oropeza has strong hands but Souza is the overall better talent. He has a knack for finishing fihgts (3 subs, 3 KOs in seven fights) and is comfortable everywhere in the cage. He’s 3-0 in Bellator while Oropeza is 2-1. Neither man has fought great competition, with Oropeza losing to Myles Jury in the King of the Cage promotion years ago. These are still two important up and coming fighters for Bellator, and with Joe Riggs and War Machine hurt, one of these guys may make a dent in the tournament. Maybe.
The main card opens with another welterweight quarterfinal bout. Jesse Suarez (21-8) will bring his 13 finishes into the Bellator cage against Adam McDonaugh (9-0) who has finished eight of his nine fights. This, as they say, may be a barn burner, even though I question the etymology of that phrase in its relationship to wild brawls. McDonaugh is 1-0 in Bellator, and you may remember his highlight reel spinning back kick knockout over Johnny Buck at Bellator 100, if you don’t you’ll see the replay tonight. Trust me. McDonaugh is relatively young and untested while Juarez is 5-0 in Bellator, but has seen losses outside of Bjorn Rebney’s promotion with losses to past welterweight standouts Douglas Lima and Josh Neer. This is kind of young vs. old and it should be a good fight.
The main event of the prelims is the opening bout of the opening round of the Bellator tournament featuring former Maximum Fighting Championship welterweight champion Nathan Coy (13-4) taking on Paul Bradley (21-5). Bradley is coming off the best win of his career after defeating Karl Amoussou at Bellator 104. Bradley went 0-2 in the UFC with losses to Mike Pierce and Rafael Natal and also lost to Luke Rockhold in one round back in a Strikeforce challenger card. He’s faced, and lost to good competition, but is looking like a more complete fighter now, while Coy is riding a 5-fight win streak. This is a good matchup for both men, and they are evenly-matched with Coy having the better wrestling (All-American). Both men need to win this fight badly, so it could lead to an entertaining scrap with Coy holding the slight advantage.

Written by Jason Nawara

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