Head to Head: Pat Curran vs. Patricio Freire RJ Gardner September 2, 2014 Events, Previews, Spotlight Bellator’s 11th season kicks off on Friday, September 5, 2014 live on Spike TV at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. Headlining the event will be a featherweight title tilt between champion Pat Curran and challenger Patricio Freire. This will be the second meeting between the two and Freire will be looking for revenge. In their first meeting Curran was able to edge Freire on the score cards to win a razor thin split decision. Join Dale De Souza and RJ Gardner as they breakdown this rematch in detail. Dale – What a difference a year makes. One year ago, Pat Curran came off of a scintillating win over Joe Warren to combat Patricio “Pitbull” Freire in what would turn out to be not only one of the best fights of 2013, but also arguably one of the best featherweight bouts to have ever taken place in Bellator MMA. Fast forward a year, and Freire rides a four-fight winning streak, while Curran recently regained the title from Daniel Straus after dropping the belt to Straus in November. RJ – Even though Curran has proved his ability time and time again he always has an underdog feel about him. The guy has wins over Roger Huerta, Warren and Straus and he still feels like a huge underdog in this fight. But he is a gamer and when that fight starts, a switch flips and he puts on a show. Dale – Without question, Curran has become a different man since dropping to featherweight. He defeated Luis Palomino and Ronnie Mann before knocking former Sengoku champ Marlon Sandro out, but as powerful as Sandro always has been in the past, Freire brings a different kind of power. He throws his power shots with such a swift ferocity that many are caught off-guard, and he certainly did land his share of offense on “Paddy Mike”, though the champ did use his own unorthodox striking abilities to prevail in the fight. RJ – Freire is one of the most complete featherweights in all of MMA; his striking is vicious and his grappling is top notch. As tough as, and game as Curran is it is hard to see him sneaking past Freire for a second time. Freire is motivated, hungry and he is rolling right now. Dale – That motivation reads like a two-parter. One part of it comes from how close the first bout ended, because while Curran did retain, a case could be made for Freire winning the bout. The other part of it comes from Freire’s current four-fight winning run, in which the likes of Justin Wilcox, Diego Nunes, Jared Downing and Fabricio Guerreiro have all fallen to “Pitbull” as the touted Brazilian has fought to serve notice to the champ and make his case for the rematch. RJ – This isn’t going to be a one-sided affair; this is going to be a tough, gritty back and forth battle. When thing get tough technique tends to go out the window for most fighters and that is where Curran has the biggest advantage. His unorthodox striking is a huge advantage when frustration and cardio become factors in the championship rounds. On top of that, Curran has shown many times that his will is unbreakable. Dale – That toughness, probably more than Curran’s stellar cardio, may make for the big X-factor in this bout. It should certainly be expected that this bout will bring about another superior clash that probably goes to the judges, but rematches sometimes end much differently from the original encounters. Yes, there is a good reason why only one man can claim a finish over Curran, and that is because he is an expert in keeping himself mentally solid, but because Freire does come in as motivated as he does, there is still that chance of a potential finish, provided Freire knows how to set it up and pull the trigger on it. RJ – If anyone is going to finish Curran, though, it is Freire; in his last four wins Freire has three knockouts. The longer this fight goes the more it swings in the favor of Curran but if Freire can come in early and put him on his heels he has a great chance at winning this fight via stoppage. His vicious power and accuracy need to be on point from the opening bell. Dale – Absolutely agreed with that fact. If a man wants to break Curran, he must shake Curran, and thus far, only some of the best of the best have been able to do that. I do think Freire will certainly come out ready to take Curran to a firefight, however, Curran will somehow manage to weather the storm and ultimately retain his title, albeit in another intense, high-drama battle. RJ – It’s hard to beat a fighter as talented as Freire twice especially when that first win was as close as it was. Curran is tough and durable but Freire is a technically superior fighter and that is going to prove to be the difference this time around. Dale’s Prediction – Curran takes a split-decision after another insane battle with Freire. RJ’s Prediction – Freire wins this one via unanimous decision.