Bellator 85 Picks: Featherweight Title Fight Pat Curran (-120) vs. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (-110)

Patricio FreireBellator 85 UCI Bren Events Center in Irvine, California Thursday, January 17, 2013 Featherweight Title Fight: Pat Curran (-120) vs. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (-110) Fight Breakdown: The first of two Bellator world title fights scheduled for Bellator’s debut on Spike TV sees featherweight champ Pat Curran put his title on the line for the first time since winning it from Joe Warren back at Bellator 60 in March of 2012. The man itching to get the belt himself is Patricio “Pitbull” Freire, who hasn’t competed since a May 2011 victory over Daniel Strauss. Curran vs “Pitbull” was supposed happen in the summer of 2012, but an eye injury to Curran pushed the bout back until now. Curran (17-4) is coming off that devastating KO win of Warren to claim the title. Prior to that beating, Curran knocked out Marlon Sandro and defeated both Ronnie Mann and Luis Palomino to win the Bellator 2011 Summer Series Featherweight Tournament. The 25-year-old cousin of UFC veteran Jeff Curran is one of the top featherweights in the world because he can finish opponents both standing and on the ground. Don’t forget that he also won Bellator’s Season Two Lightweight Tournament, and his only loss in the last three years came against Eddie Alvarez. He’s a young star in the making, and if he can get through Freire, he’ll prove that he’s definitely one of MMA’s Top 5 featherweights in the world. “Pitbull” (17-1) hasn’t fought in nearly 20 months due to a lingering hand injury as well as Curran’s eye injury pushing his return back. Like Curran, the 25-year old Brazilian is extremely dangerous both standing and on the ground, as evidenced by his six wins via knockout and seven by submission. He’s explosive, fast, and athletic, but the biggest question for him is how much the long layoff will affect his timing in the ring. It’s likely he’ll show some signs of ring rust in the early rounds, but it’s possible as the fight wears on that the rust will actually go away, and he’ll be able to pick up the pace and take it to Curran, who is the bigger man and cuts more weight to make 145 pounds. Fight Prediction: I see this fight taking place on the feet for the majority of the time, and although Curran definitely has power, I do give the slight edge in the striking department to “Pitbull,” and I think his activity level may be the deciding factor. It’s another very tough fight to predict, but ultimately I see “Pibtull” doing enough to snare a decision. Adam’s Pick: Freire via unanimous decision (click for latest MMA odds) Adam’s Recommended Play: This is an extremely hard fight to pick. Yes, Curran looked amazing in dispatching Warren while “Pitbull” lost a decision to Warren and has been out of action for nearly 20 months, but the way these two match up, the underdog definitely has a legit shot here of claiming the mini upset. At a Pick ’em price, he might be worth a small play.

Written by Adam Martin.

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