Bellator

Pat Curran Chokes Out Shamhalaev, Retains Title

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Pat Curran at Bellator 95

by Matt Lo Cascio

Pat Curran used the first half of round one in his title fight with Shahbulat Shamhalaev to size up his opponent and find his reach. The second half was all about the attack.

Just moments after Bellator analyst Jimmy Smith said that Curran was known to be a slow starter and uses his wrestling mainly for defense, Curran shot in on Shamhalaev and took him down. Curran first went for his back but switched up into a guillotine choke and dragged Shamhalaev into full guard. The choke was tight and Shamhalaev never tapped, but he did go to sleep. The end came at 2:38 of the first round, with Curran successfully defending his featherweight title for the second time.

Pat Curran celebrates his Bellator 95 win.“It feels great,” Curran told Smith in the cage after the fight. “I didn’t get hit once in the face. I want to get in, get out, get back to the gym, rest up and on to the next one.”

The ‘next one’ will be a familiar face to Curran. “I can’t wait to face Daniel Straus in a rematch,” Curran said.

Curran and Straus did battle at XFO 29 in April, 2009, and Curran finished Straus for his first knockout as a pro. Curran had just six pro bouts under his belt at that time, Straus had just five.

The win over Shamhalaev was Curran’s fifth straight win, and his ninth in Bellator, the most of any fighter in Bellator history.

“Thanks for Shahbulat and taking the fight on short notice. This was a big opportunity for him and I thank him for stepping up to the fight. Thank you Bjorn and Bellator for keeping me busy in the cage and continuing to allow me to develop as a fighter,” Curran said.

About Matt Lo Cascio

Matt Lo Cascio is a former TV producer who turned to new media in 2005, and he is the co-founder and editor of Chicago's MMA. He is also the play-by-play announcer for the XFO. His work has been published by ESPN.com, DraftKings, The Comeback, FanSided and more.

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