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Curran shocks Huerta, Alvarez dominates Neer at Bellator 17

BOSTON, Mass. (May 6, 2010) – Pat Curran, the 22-year-old descendant of MMA royalty pulled off one of the most shocking upsets in recent memory Thursday night with a hard-fought unanimous decision victory over former UFC standout and Bellator Lightweight Tournament favorite Roger Huerta at Bellator 17 in Boston.

Curran’s stunning victory, which quickly set the MMA world abuzz, served to highlight Bellator’s first-of-its-kind tournament-style format, which has also given rise to several other decided underdogs since its inception last year.

“It was a tremendous night for Pat and a tremendous testament to our tournament format,” Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney said afterward. “This was proof of our concept and exactly what I hoped this organization could provide to fighters. I wanted great fighters to have the opportunity to fight other great fighters where nothing but their performance would dictate their future … an organization where it made no difference if a fighter was world-famous or simply had world class ability. Pat Curran took huge advantage of this opportunity tonight and deserves everything he’s receiving.”

The first nationally-televised MMA event in Boston history also witnessed a spectacular “Super Fight” victory by reigning Bellator Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez while reigning “Submission of the Year” title holder Toby Imada punched his ticket to this year’s finals.

But the night undoubtedly belonged to Curran who improved his pro record to 11-3 and took a huge step out of the shadow of his cousin and longtime trainer, MMA legend Jeff “The Big Frog” Curran.

Curran and Huerta traded blows for 15 minutes in a stirring tactical standup fight that brought a raucous crowd at the 85-year-old Wang Theatre to its feet. As the decision was announced, Huerta hung his head in disbelief, saying afterward that “it was just one of those nights.”

“I take my hat off to Pat Curran,” said Huerta, who fell to 21-4. “I started out pretty flat and he capitalized. Ultimately, it’s my fault for leaving it up to the judges. It’s really tough for me to swallow, but now I just need to regroup and look to the future.”

Curran, for his part, credited his coaching and thanked Rebney for the opportunity to fight in the tournament and make a name for himself.

“It was an honor to fight Roger,” an emotional and visibly exhausted Curran told Bellator ring announcer Jimmy Smith immediately after the fight. “I just tried to keep my hands clean and went for the straight right … I was trying to counter and land my shots. I’m looking forward to getting back to the gym as soon as possible and getting to work on my ground game and preparing for Toby Imada.”

While Imada’s victory was somewhat lost in the excitement of the Curran upset, the 25-13 MMA veteran native earned his way to the lightweight tournament finals in impressive fashion as well, absorbing a flurry of first round strikes from former all-American college wrestler Carey Vanier (8-3) before eventually regaining control and finishing him via armbar at 3:33 in Round 2.

“He’s a tough dude and a great wrestler, but his arm was out and when I saw it, I grabbed it and held on,” Imada said after the fight. “It’s what I came here for … I’m looking forward to performing better in the finals this time around.”

Not to be outdone, Alvarez was equally impressive in his fight against UFC veteran Josh Neer, using a powerful standing rear naked choke to put Neer to sleep at 2:08 into Round 2. The win improved Alvarez’s impeccable overall record to 20-2 and added to the growing argument that he is the world’s top 155-pound fighter.

Afterward, Rebney made no secret of his opinion.

“I’m not much for pronouncements,” he said, “but in the lightweight division of MMA, you’ll be awfully hard-pressed to find someone who would be able to beat Eddie Alvarez.”

Alvarez, though, demurred, saying simply that he was “happy to be on the East Coast and happy to be a part of the first big MMA fight in Boston.”

“I think I executed well tonight,” he said.

In the night’s final televised fight, former two-time NCAA wrestling champion and Brock Lesnar training partner Cole Konrad outlasted New York native Pat Bennet (1-1), earning a unanimous decision victory to improve to a perfect 3-0 in his nascent MMA career.

“I learned a lot about myself and a lot about the fight game in general tonight,” Konrad said during the post-fight press conference. “There’s definitely a lot of areas I’m going to focus on developing, but a win is a win and I’m just happy to be a part of Bellator.”

Fans who missed Thursday night’s action can watch all the best moments this weekend during special highlight shows on NBC, Telemundo and the cable network mun2. Check your local listings for exact dates and times.

Bellator returns to action next week from the Monroe Civic Center in Monroe, La., with two semifinal fights in the Season 2 Featherweight Tournament: former pro soccer player Georgi Karakhanyan versus fomer NCAA all-American wrestler Joe Warren and a match-up of two Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts, Wilson Reis and Patricio Pitbull. The evening also features another Bellator “Super Fight,” with reigning Bellator Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard taking on Paulo Filho.

For more information, visit www.Bellator.com follow us on Twitter @BellatorMMA or on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/BellatorMMA.

25 COMMENTS
  • GIKE MOLDBERG says:

    Wow!!!-This tournament idea is truly mma at its unadulterated best!-Too bad UFC hasn’t capitalized on it’s roots and brought back the tournament format for some programming on spike.

  • Vogairian says:

    Wow!!!-This tournament idea is truly mma at its unadulterated best!-Too bad UFC hasn’t capitalized on it’s roots and brought back the tournament format for some programming on spike.  

    If only they’d take the tournament format, get big name fighters to pick teams and act as coaches, let it play out over a season of episodes, and then crown the winner of the tournament with a big contract and have the fights air live on national TV. I think you’re onto something here.

  • twyg says:

    Vorairain that was kind of an unnessicary(?) shot. This is kind of like the old Pride Gran Prix which were great. The ufc should do one just to clear up contender status. Some will say that it already happens, but with a tourney format we as fans would know who is fighting who next. Set it up like a bracket. As someone who has met Pat and talked about the sport with him I couldn’t be happier for him.

  • marmalade_sally says:

    Tournaments are great! I especially love when you follow it for months only to have a great matchup or conclusion derailed by the inevitable injury! Let’s be serious. They rarely go smoothly and often lead to disappointment.

  • marmalade_sally says:

    Just wondering, is Bellator a 5 oz. sponsor? Every article is written like a paid advertisment, and done with such an over the top positve spin it makes me queesy.

  • blue says:

    Having watched the card last night, I think Bellator is on to something. The tournament format will work great for small promotions who don’t have reknown fighters. In itself, the tournament creates a story-line and a backdrop for the fighters which is ultimately what you need to promote fight(s) going forward.

    When you get to the UFC level and all the fighters’ story-lines and backdrops are fairly public knowledge already, what does the tournament format really bring to the table? Nothing. For the UFC, just give me the best fights, let the figthers prepare and let the chips fall where they may.

  • hindsightufuk says:

    Just wondering, is Bellator a 5 oz. sponsor? Every article is written like a paid advertisment, and done with such an over the top positve spin it makes me queesy.  (Quote)

    maybe the writers just recognise how good Bellator is and the potential it has, so they are trying to promote it and give them some air time so a few more people will tune in to watch it.
    did you even watch it or your just waiting for UFC this weekend?

  • marmalade_sally says:

    Of course. I question the obvious slant on every bellator article and instantly I am some ufc-only mma hack. What would the opinion be if every ufc article was company produced with a positive spin and then reposted here? No need to get so defensive and paranoid about thongs. ” your just pro ufc big business mma maaaan!” shut up.

  • marmalade_sally says:

    Thongs?! Awesome. That probably ruined any point I might of had.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    Great couple of fights last night, although I was sure Neer would win out, Eddie was very impressive and showed he is really a talented LW fighter.

  • Guthookd says:

    OMG I’m crushed. Comcast has had Bellator on every Thursday up until last night. I sat down to watch the tournament and it was replaced by some old fucks talking about football and baseball.

    Why would they drop Bellator in the middle of the season right before the best fights of the season were going to air? WTF is wrong with Comcast? I absolutely hate it. HATE.

    I’ll still see them, but there’s nothing better than seeing fights on your own TV. Shit.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    Guthooked, that sucks because last night had three very good fights on the card, Imada pulling off the sub in a tough fight was probably the best fotn but they were all very good.

  • Dufresne says:

    OMG I’m crushed.Comcast has had Bellator on every Thursday up until last night. I sat down to watch the tournament and it was replaced by some old fucks talking about football and baseball.Why would they drop Bellator in the middle of the season right before the best fights of the season were going to air?WTF is wrong with Comcast?I absolutely hate it.HATE.I’ll still see them, but there’s nothing better than seeing fights on your own TV.Shit.  

    Yeah, I was out last night and set my DVR to record it for me. When I got home I got nothing worth watching. I’m currently looking for a replay sometime this week, but no luck so far. I hate Comcast with every fiber of my being, and not just for this.

  • Guthookd says:

    I hate Comcast with every fiber of my being, and not just for this.  (Quote)

    LOL. At least I’m not alone.

    http://www.mmalinker.com <check it out

  • GIKE MOLDBERG says:

    thanks TWYG-I guess vog-gina has been sippin that hata sauce-anyways-I think the UFC should seriously think about broadcasting a tournament type of show-we all know that the current TUF format is getting old

  • Rece Rock says:

    Bit surprised the judges didn’t give it to huerta… Kind of a draw in my eyes, but that can’t really be a result in a tourney now can it ?

    Cole konrad’s match had me flashing back to TUF10!! Big man is impressive but needs to gain some cardio and endurance to get to another level- both fighters were drained.

    Overall good night of fights- alverez had a nice sub- just wondering why neer continued to stand when refusing to tap?! Why not fall backwards or too your knees?? But I guess no matter what he was going to sleep

  • Makington says:

    I’m actually really glad for Pat Curran. He was facing tough times in the WEC with some very questionable decisions. He was on I think a 3 fight losing skid that die-hards knew he didn’t deserve, and it was kind of frustrating knowing how good he really was. It’s good to see him getting some of the respect he already deserved imo.

  • marmalade_sally says:

    I guess you mean jeff curran, malkington. Agree about the poor decisions but you might be confused.

  • Makington says:

    God damn, you’re right! I hate when fighters have the same last names since that’s how I refer to them. I have been thinking this is the wrong guy for a while then, which makes sense now that I think about it. I just thought he moved back up in weight or something since he has fought at 155 before. I will hang my head in shame all day.

    Here’s hoping

  • Guthookd says:

    God damn, you’re right! I hate when fighters have the same last names since that’s how I refer to them. I have been thinking this is the wrong guy for a while then, which makes sense now that I think about it. I just thought he moved back up in weight or something since he has fought at 155 before. I will hang my head in shame all day.Here’s hoping  (Quote)

    Not so quick. You have a reason. Jeff fought on a Bellator card like 2 weeks ago and it was the same card his cousin fought on, so there’s a reason for you madness. BTW, that fight (Jeff’s) is available on the Bellator website and it’s pretty good. Check it out……I’ll spare you the spoiler since you may not have caught it yet.

  • Just wondering, is Bellator a 5 oz. sponsor? Every article is written like a paid advertisment, and done with such an over the top positve spin it makes me queesy.  (Quote)

    This isn’t an article written by any 5Oz staffer. It is a press release straight from Bellator which explains the hyperbole and spin doctoring.

  • Guthookd says:

    OK, now I’m ready to comment.

    Imada looks very good, despite his horrible record. I’m starting to really enjoy watching him fight. Great hips, great ground game, and not afraid to bang it out.

    I thought Roger beat Pat. It all depends on how much credit you give cage control though, really. Roger clearly commanded the cage. Tough one to call, but I would have given it to Roger. Just goes to show that they’re not protecting any specific prospects because we all know Roger is a bigger draw than their champs.

    Speaking of champs, Alvarez is a good fighter. Neer is no joke and Eddie basically controlled the whole fight. Really looking forward to seeing his title on the line.

    All in all, great fights for BFC 17.

  • hindsightufuk says:

    i did think the commentators were going a bit far with ‘one of the greatest upsets in MMA history’ as Pat got the nod over Roger. I love watching Roger fight but he really isnt one of the greatest and it wasnt a huge upset, Pat has a good record, its just not the result Bellator wanted/expected.
    Some great work by Toby Imada in round two, his scissor take down that eventually led to the arm bar was wicked, he is a fun guy to watch. I really wanted to see him and Roger square off, that woulda been an awesome fight.
    looking forward to seeing Paulo Filho next week

  • LiverPunch says:

    ‘one of the greatest upsets in MMA history’
    It may be but it would be a very, very long list of “greatest upsets” if that is the case. I think your hindsight is 20/20 there buddy. I am also looking forward to Filho and would love to see Roger take on Imada.

  • The Curran/Huerta outcome reminds me of the Kid/Warren fight. No matter how much scheming and marketing you do as a promoter, your stars still have to come to fight.

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