In the past two years, Pat Curran has captured two Bellator tournament titles, and, the $100,000 prize that has gone along with them.
For Curran, the money has allowed him to focus on training and building his MMA career into the future.
“Financially I’m able to put all of my time and focus into the gym now,” Curran said. “That’s what I wanted. That was my goal. It’s really helping me evolve as a fighter.”
Curran (16-4) was last seen inside the cage delivering a highlight-reel knockout to Marlon Sandro at Bellator 48 with a head kick. The blow came as Curran was trailing on the scorecards and facing a tough opponent, which is nothing new to him.
“I watched a lot of footage of him, especially his last two fights in the tournament,” Curran said. “When he gets in exchanges, he starts swinging really wild, throws really heavy shots, but his chin’s wide open in the air. He really exposes himself that way. Especially when he’s bobbing and weaving or slipping punches, his hands aren’t by his chin…We did notice that in his previous fights, but especially in the first round of our fight, I did notice he was dropping his hands a lot. He wasn’t protecting himself very well. I ended it with that head kick. I just timed it perfectly.”
The win was the second straight for the 24-year-old, who has only lost to Bellator champion Eddie Alvarez since early 2010. Overall, Curran has won seven of his last eight fights – including being 6-0 in the two tournaments.
“You’ve got to be really smart with your game plan,” said Curran, of fighting in tournaments. “You’ve got to be very cautious too because you don’t want to get an injury in the first round. If you go in there and have a war and come out with a broken nose or a cut, now you have to do a training camp with that injury and then go into that next round with that injury. That’s the worst part about the tournament format, but I really like the format because you stay busy.
“You’re active. You don’t have much of a break. I really think you evolve as a fighter. You really see your level jump through that whole training camp and throughout the fights.”