Bellator 123 Fight Breakdown: Pat Curran vs. Patricio Pitbull

patricio_pitbull The main event of Bellator 123 is a five-round title fight between Bellator featherweight champion Pat Curran and challenge Patricio Pitbull. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Curran is a -115 favorite (bet $115 to win $100) while Pitbull is a -105 underdog (bet $105 to win $100). MMA linesetter Nick Kalikas opened both men at -120, and the line has stayed relatively steady as a near Pick ’em fight as the betting public seems split on who will win. This isn’t an easy fight to pick but I lean towards Pitbull as the slight underdog. Here’s why. Curran (20-5) is the Bellator featherweight champion. The 27-year-old American is 10-2 in Bellator including a 7-1 record at 145lbs that includes a win over Pitbull already (via SD), plus wins over Daniel Straus (SUB), Shahbulat Shamhalaev (SUB), Joe Warren (KO), Marlon Sandro (KO) and Luis Palomino (SUB). Curran is well rounded with a good boxing attack on the feet and an excellent submission game when the fight hits the mat. He has shown great cardio throughout his career and seems to be improving in every fight. However, he has shown throughout his career he is a slow starter and it’s cost him numerous rounds which have made his fights close when they hit the scorecards. Curran did beat Pitbull in their first fight, but it was extremely close and realistically could have gone either way. If Curran wants to beat Pitbull this time around, he’s most likely going to have to fight smart and take it to the ground, because of it stays standing, based on their last few performances I don’t see how anyone can favor Curran on the feet. Pitbull (21-2) is the top featherweight contender in Bellator. The 27-year-old Brazilian is 9-2 in Bellator with wins over the likes of Daniel Straus (UD, Wilson Reis (KO, UD), Georgi Karakhanyan (KO), Diego Nunes (KO), Justin Wilcox (TKO), and Fabricio Guerreiro (UD), and his only losses coming to Curran and Joe Warren by close split decisions. Pitbull is an aggressive striker with knockout power in all of his limbs. He also has underrated offensive wrestling and solid takedown defence. He is coming off a long layoff, having not fought since last November, but he has been training hard and shouldn’t shown off too much ring rust in this fight. In the first fight against Curran, Pitbull was strong early before slowing down late, and I think he can learn from that experience and use it to his advantage in this rematch. It’s going to be close, but if Pitbull can keep up the aggression for all five rounds he definitely has a chance to win this fight and take home the Bellator featherweight title. Like their first fight, I expect this bout between Curran and Pitbull to stay standing and on the feet both men have their advantages. Pitbull is more explosive and has more power, but Curran is longer and more technical. Curran also has better cardio, so the longer the fight goes the more it helps him. However, while I could see this rematch going the distance just like the first one did, I also think there’s a very good chance Pitbull knocks Curran out in the first few rounds. He’s extremely explosive and has that ability to end the fight at any time, and Curran has been extremely hittable as of late, so all the makings of a Pitbull knockout are there. Either way, I do think he wins and at -105 I think it’s worth taking a shot at him here. That being said, if the fight goes the distance we’ve seen some questionable judging calls in Bellator before so you can’t go too crazy on Pitbull here, but a small play is warranted I feel at the current Pick ’em price.

Written by Adam Martin.

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