Video of Team Curran’s Pat Curran vs. Shahbulat Shamhalaev at Bellator 95 for the featherweight title.
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.
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.
by Matt Lo Cascio
It isn’t easy trying to rehab injuries, stay in fighting shape, own a gym, teach classes and coach pro and amateur fighters.
“I need a vacation,” Jeff Curran joked.
Curran has a lot on his plate these days, and that’s just how he likes it. There’s no slowing down for the 35-year-old, and he says he is finally healthy enough to get back in the cage. He will likely make his return, and flyweight debut, on May 18 for the XFO.
Curran couldn’t reveal his opponent, but he did tell us that the fighter had agreed to fight him on an earlier date, so he hopes to have an announcement soon. Curran was scheduled to fight Tachi Palace vet Dustin Ortiz at last year’s XFO Outdoor War but had to withdraw due to hand injuries. Ortiz has since signed with the RFA, so Curran will have a different opponent.
Meanwhile, Curran is getting four other Team Curran fighters ready for big fights, not to mention a number of fighters for XFO 47 on March 29.
One of those fighters is Bart Palaszewski, who will fight Cole Miller at the TUF 17 Finale on April 13. Palaszewski left the team for a spell, but he is back under the Team Curran banner.
“Bart is 100% with Team Curran,” Curran said. “We worked out some things that were long overdue and he is refocused with the team more than ever. I think Bart vs. Cole is an awesome match-up. Bart is hard to submit and a dangerous knockout fighter. Not to mention he has a solid submission game himself being a BJJ black belt under me.”
About a week before that fight is the Bellator featherweight championship match, where cousin Pat Curran will defend his title against Shahbulat Shamhalaev, who replaces the injured Daniel Straus. The training camp was thrown a curveball when Straus had to withdraw from the bout. Pat Curran’s first career knockout came against Straus back at XFO 29, but Jeff isn’t concerned about the change.
“I think it holds a different challenge than Straus, but it falls into our advantage and gives us a very good vision of a game-plan. Pat is ready to fight anyone they send us.”
Felice Herrig will fight Heather Clark in Tampa at Bellator 94, and Joey Diehl recently signed to fight Eric Moell on April 19 for the XFC on AXStv.
“We’re excited about Diehl’s fight. He was a replacement and gets a chance to prove he is who we all know he can be. March 28 – May 18 is action-packed busy with fights for Team Curran,” Curran said.
That much-needed vacation? It will have to wait.
by Matt Lo Cascio
Pat Curran picked apart Patricio Pitbull over five rounds on Thursday night to successfully retain his Bellator featherweight title via split decision. Two judges scored it 48-47 for Curran (18-4), who was making the first defense of the title he took from Joe Warren in Indiana last year.
Curran started a bit slow against the challenger, but his pace and accuracy improved with each round. He used the first round like a radar, gathering information about his opponent and formulating a plan.
“He wont be baited. Pat Curran content to counterpunch so far,” said analyst Jimmy Smith. Smith gave the first round to Pitbull due to the Brazilian being the busier fighter.
The action picked up in round two with Curran getting the better of the exchanges. Curran landed a knee and Pitbull waved him on. Curran then landed a loud head kick on the side of Pitbull’s face, but Pitbull just smiled.
Still, the blows were connecting and Pitbull’s face was starting to swell and show damage. Blood started to drip from his nose with about 1:30 left in the second round, a round that was clearly won by the champion.
The third round was a bit of a stalemate with neither fighter doing much damage nor commanding the cage. Smith scored that round for Pitbull.
While Curran may have lost the third round, he was certainly the fresher fighter entering the championship rounds. It was the second time in Curran’s career going past the third round, having gone all five rounds in his lightweight championship bout with Eddie Alvarez in 2011. This was Pitbull’s first time past three rounds.
A Curran right hand stunned Pitbull with four minutes left in the fourth, and that seemed to ignite the champion. “I think that gave him some guts, he’s turning it on a little bit,” Smith said.
Turn it on he did. Curran increased his output and accurately battered the challenger, Pitbull’s face showing the damage. Pitbull was bleeding under the eyes and from his nose, and the swelling was disfiguring. Curran clearly had taken control of the bout, with Pitbull not only damaged but also showing signs of fatigue. Curran’s energy did not wane at all during the fight, and if anything it increased after he landed the right hand that changed the momentum of the bout.
Curran continued to land combos to both the body and head of Pitbull in the final round. Pitbull mounted a last-ditch effort near the end of the round, but Curran defended well and was never hurt.
Curran didn’t have too much to say in a post-fight interview with Smith. “I hope you guys enjoyed it — on to the next,” Curran said.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney wrapped the belt around Curran’s waist then offered some high praise for his champion. “Spectacular performance, you’re one of the greatest featherweights on the face of the earth.”
Results from XFO 46 at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates on Saturday, November 17.
Danny Aguirre def. Matt Wikoff, armbar 2:41 rd. 1
Andre Feliciano def. Phil Williams via UD
Erick Correa vs. Lance Harvey – Correa def. Harvey – TKO -ref stoppage to strikes, 1:52, rd. 1
Ramy Daoud vs. Cody Osbourne- Daoud def. Osbourne, 5:00 rd. 1, doctor stoppage.
Jimmy Kim vs. Charlie Radtke (Team Curran)- Radtke def. Kim via triangle choke, 2:07, RD. 1
PJ Cajigas (Top Notch) vs. Lawrence Dunning (Team Curran) – Dunning def. Cajigas via tap- armbar, 2:17 rd. 1
XFO Lightweight Ammy Title: Victor Rodriguez (Undeground) vs. Brian Radtke (Team Curran) Radtke def. Rodriguez, 1:24 rd 3 RNC
Brian Akins vs. Nate Jennerman- Jennerman def. Akins via UD
Antoine Wiseman vs. David Williams- Williams def. Wiseman, 29-27 UD
Dante Patrick vs. Jim Overly- Patrick def. Overly, 2:03 rd 1 RNC
Patrick Shawn Ayers vs. Austin Lewis- Lewis def. Ayers, 1:10 rd 1 KO
Chris Gutierrez vs. Sam Horowitz- Gutierrez def. Horowitz via UD
Eric Price vs. Dan Hart- Hart def. Price, :45 of rd 3 tap- guillotine
Kevin Watkins vs. Pat Hastings- Hastings def. Watkins, arm triangle 1:14 of rd. 1
by Matt Lo Cascio
XFO 46 goes down tomorrow night at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, and as usual the event will feature some of the best up and coming pro fighters in the area. It will also mark the return of Adam “Polish Pitbull” Maciejewski.
Maciejewski is veteran of the local fight scene but has been inactive since 2009. He’s fought in Combat-Do, TFC, XFO and the IFL. He’ll get quite the “welcome back” from Serbia’s Miodrag Petkovich, who will be content to stand right in front of him and trade shots for three rounds.
Petkovich is getting up in years, but he’s fought some well-known fighters like Aleksander Emelianenko, Igor Pokrajac, James Thompson, Travis Fulton and Tim Hague. He’s had mixed results since coming to fight in Chicago, going 1-2. He bested Mike Marrello at XFO 42, while suffering losses to Ed Carpenter and Jake O’Brien.
In other fights, MTC’s Andre Feliciano will fight Team Curran’s Phil Williams. Feliciano beat Williams’ little brother to capture XFO’s amateur flyweight title at XFO 42. Now he’ll get big brother Phil as a pro.
XFO promoter Dan Lardy is stoked about this matchup. “Watch for Feliciano/Williams, I expect that to be fight of the night!” Check out the video preview of the Feliciano vs. Williams fight here.
Danny “The Assassin” Aguirre will look for his second straight win when he takes on Matt Wikoff. He was scheduled to fight C3, TFC and Ironheart Crown vet Wade Choate, but the switch was made today. Aguirre is not happy with the change. He tweeted: “Gotta love last minute opponent changes.. And weight class changes too. #unprofessional”.
Three-time Chicago Golden Gloves champ and Team Curran fighter Erick Correa will make his pro debut against Lance Harvey. Correa told the Crystal Lake Patch that he ruptured the a bicep tendon in his right arm in February, then dealt with a deep-tissue infection in his leg in September.
Here’s the rest of the pro card:
Adam Maciejewski vs Miodrag Petkovich
Daniel Aguirre vs Wade Choate
Phil Williams vs Andre Feliciano
Christian Reynoso vs Jeff Lavallee
Ramy Daoud vs Cody Osborne
Charlie Radtke vs Jimmy Kim
Erick Correa vs Lance Harvey
Lawrence Dunning vs PJ Cajigas
Damian Norris vs Jake Constant
by Matt Lo Cascio
Curran is offering a free Jiu-Jitsu seminar to benefit the Crystal Lake Food Pantry. “Help Fight Hunger” will take place December 1 at Team Curran MMA.
“People need help. The biggest problem with today is that people think all the major problems are worldly and forget we can make a huge difference by doing so little,” Curran said. “My wife taught me that. She volunteers her time to make people’s lives better all the time and I feel as students and practitioners of Jiu-Jitsu we have that power to do so.”
While the seminar is free, attendees are asked to make a minimum donation of $10 to the Crystal Lake Food Pantry.
“$10 is nothing to people who are fortunate enough to be able to afford lessons and a gi to train in,” Curran said. “So I want to ask everyone to donate $10. Last year I did a free seminar that brought in 138 people. It may be a little crowded, but it sure will be fun and great to make a difference in some people’s lives in the area around the holiday season.”
Curran is mostly known to fans of the sport as a fighter, having compiled over 50 professional fights since the late 90′s. He’s fought in the UFC, Strikeforce, PRIDE, Bellator, WEC and XFO. But he says Jiu-Jitsu is always first for him.
“I love to teach Jiu-Jitsu and being an ‘MMA’ guy, it is important for me to show the people out there that I am an advocate for Jiu-Jitsu first.”
The seminar will run from 10am to 1pm, and Curran expects the place to be even more packed than last year’s free seminar.
“It’s my way of saying thank you, Merry Christmas and God bless, all at once.”
It’s been a tough month for the Curran cousins.
More bad news came when Pat Curran was injured during a sparring session, suffering a fractured orbital bone that will force him to postpone his Bellator 73 title fight against Patricio “Pitbull” Friere.
“It’s an incredibly frustrating injury, especially to happen so close to the fight, but these things happen,” Curran told ESPN.com. “I can honestly say I’m in the best shape of my life, but injuries happen and once I heal up, I’m going to continue to train and come back stronger than ever to defend the Bellator featherweight title.”
Curran has been dominating opponents since dropping to featherweight after his five-round title fight with Eddie Alvarez last year.
He submitted Luis Palomino with a Peruvian Necktie at Bellator 46, bested Ronnie Mann by unanimous decision at Bellator 47, knocked out Marlon Sandro with a head kick at Bellator 48 and knocked out Joe Warren after throwing him a vicious beating at Bellator 60 in Hammond to take the featherweight title.
So both Curran fighters will have to play the waiting game before they get back into the cage. Jeff wants back in the UFC at flyweight and Pat wants to make his first title defense.
This is the eighth edition of the event, with amateur bouts starting at 2pm and then a pro card at 7pm. All the fights are outside in a cage set up on a beach volleyball court.
“I look forward to this show every year,” XFO promoter Dan Lardy told Chicago’s MMA. “It’s an all-around great time…the fights, the fans, everything.”
While some of the big names that were initially on the card are no longer fighting, there are still plenty of reasons to come out and watch the event.
“Charles Radtke from Team Curran is upcoming amateur to look for — this kid is a beast,” Lardy said. “Also, heavyweight Wes Anderson (Midwest Training Center) and middleweight Vince DeCicco (Triton). As far as pros Cory Galloway is 0-1 coming off his pro debut in Bellator, but the kid is an animal,” Lardy said.
Galloway was in a tremendous back-and-forth fight with Jake Nauracy at Bellator 60 in Hammond, and he was undefeated as an amateur. He’ll fight Damian Jeffro on Saturday night.
The pro card also features former UFC fighter Mackens Semerzier against local standout Will Serment.
This will be Semerzier’s first fight since being released by the UFC following his loss to Daniel Pineda in March. Serment has won three straight bouts since his loss to Will Brooks at Chicago Cagefighting Championship III, including the Ring of Combat featherweight title.
Midwest Training Center’s Mike Pitz against Louis Taylor is another exciting matchup.
Pitz has rolled through everyone placed in front of him in his pro career, going 8-0. Taylor has fought in Strikeforce and Bellator and needs a win to revitalize his career. He lost his only fight this year to Perry “Filthy” Filkins via TKO and fought just once in 2011.
The main event will feature the return of Jon Murphy against Miletich fighter Jason Pierce.
Murphy has fought just twice over the last three years. Pierce started his pro career 12-0 before dropping a fight last year.
Jeff Curran was scheduled to make his debut at flyweight at this event, but that will have to wait. Curran had to withdraw from his fight against Dustin Ortiz due to a hand injury.
MTC’s Josh Estrada was scheduled to make his pro debut, but also had to withdraw due to injury.
Doors to the event open at 1pm and the amateur bouts start at 2pm. For tickets and more information visit XFOMMA.com.
Here is the pro card:
Jon Murphy vs Jason Pierce
Guillermo Serment vs Mackens Semerzier
Mike Pitz vs Louis Taylor
Joey Diehl vs Shawn West
Cory Galloway vs Damian Jeffro
Jared Bailey vs Quartus Stitt
Phil Williams vs Brandon Wood
Felice Herrig will finally get to fight a fellow striker. The XFC announced that Herrig will take on Simona Soukupova at XFC 19 on August 3rd in Charlotte, televised live on HDNet.
“I’m actually really excited about this fight. It’s been a while since I’ve actually got the chance to showcase my striking in an MMA fight,” Herrig told Chicago’s MMA.
Soukupova (2-1) won her first two pro fights by corner stoppage and TKO. She dropped her last bout to DREAM vet Karla Benitez, who was awarded the decision unanimously. Both fighters stood and traded for fifteen minutes in what was a tremendous battle.
While Soukupova fights out of the KO Muay Thai Gym in England and is primarily a striker, she’s not averse to ground fighting. Soukupova has competed in BJJ tourneys. Both Soukupova and Herrig prefer to strike, but Team Curran’s Herrig knows that the fight could end up on the ground.
“I’ve spent a lot of time focusing on my wrestling and Jiu Jitsu knowing a lot of girls just don’t want to strike with me. But this is MMA and anything can happen. You can match up two strikers and it could still end up a grappling match. It’s just the way the sport goes. You never know what’s going to happen,” Herrig said.
Still, Herrig is excited for the opportunity to go up against a Muay Thai fighter after being matched up against wrestlers like Patricia Vidonic and Carla Esparza in her last two bouts.
Herrig (6-4) had a two-fight win streak stopped by Esparza at XFC 15, then came back and dominated Vidonic from pillar to post at XFC 17. Now she gets the striker Soukupova, who will be making her U.S. debut.
“I get better and better with every fight,” Herrig said. “I’m looking forward to being able to showcase what I can do once again on national television for XFC on HDNet.”