Bellator 123 Play: Pat Curran (+105) vs Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (-115)

Patricio FreireBellator 123 Date: September 5, 2014 Arena: Mohegan Sun Casino City: Uncasville, CT Bellator Featherweight title bout: Pat Curran (+105) vs Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (-115) Fight Breakdown: Headlining Bellator 123 is going to be a five-round featherweight title-fight between the challenger Patricio “Pitbull” Freire and the Champion Pat Curran, and fireworks are expected in this highly-anticipated rematch that saw Curran take the nod via split decision the first time around. The betting lines are at a near-coin flip with this one, with the champion being +105 ($100 to win $105) and the Brazilian challenger being -115 ($115 to win $100 at Several Bookmakerss. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (21-2 MMA, 9-2 Bellator) is an elite striker who is fast, explosive and effective on the feet. He is quick with both his feet and his hands and he can land three significant strikes before his opponent can land one. The Brazilian can strike technically and do damage there, or turn the fight into a brawl, which is what he prefers and loves. Freire is confident in his solid chin, so he loves to get into brawls and take shots while looking to score a big highlight reel knockout. On top of throwing excellent, crisp punches and kicks, “Pitbull” holds his own on the mat, as he is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. In fact, he is a finisher on the mat as much as he is on the feet, as 16 of his 21 career victories have come by way of finish, nine by T/KO and seven via submission. The only two losses in his 23-fight career have come by split decision. His first taste of defeat came at the hands of Joe Warren at Bellator 23 and the last one was came against Pat Curran at Bellator 85, and now he will get his chance the avenge the loss while simultaneously capturing the Bellator 145-pound gold. Freire is a well-conditioned fighter who will have enough in the tank for 25-minutes of action, should this main event title fight go the distance. Pat Curran (25-5 MMA, 10-2 Bellator) is now a two-time Bellator Featherweight Champion, defeating Daniel Straus to re-capture his Bellator 145-pound title at Bellator 12 nearly six months ago. The fight went late into the fifth frame, where he submitted the then-champ with only 14-seconds remaining in the fight. With his rear naked choke, he earned the tapout and once again, title of Bellator Featherweight Champion. Curran is a very talented mixed martial artist who is extremely well-rounded, constantly impressing both on the feet and on the mat, though he excels on the mat, specifically in the submission game. He is a talented Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner who owns seven of his 20 professional mixed martial arts career victories by way of submission; all of them a form of choke, including a rare ‘Peruvian necktie’ he scored over Luis Palomino at Bellator 46. Training out of Team Curran in Crystal Lake, IL, the former lightweight is a well-conditioned athlete who will be prepared for a tough five-rounds of action in this rematch against the Brazilian, who he will be looking to go 2-0 against, while simultaneously earning his first successful title defense since recapturing the gold and extending his winning streak to two in a row. Gabe’s Thoughts: Simply put, I think these featherweights are going to produce another 25-minutes of exciting action that likely gets decided by the judges’ in the form of a split decision. This time, I slightly favor the Brazilian to pick-up the nod, and think we will likely see the Bellator featherweight title exchange hands yet again. Gabe’s Call: “Pitbull” by Split Decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Over 4.5 rounds (-160) 4u to win 2.5u

Written by Gabe Killian

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