After a tournament run that included dominating victories over a trio of top competitors, Bellator Summer Series Featherweight Tournament Winner Pat Curran rightly earned his title shot and will take on reigning Featherweight Champion and self-proclaimed “Baddest Man on The Planet” Joe Warren early in 2012.
Patricio Pitbull was originally scheduled to face Joe Warren, as the explosive Brazilian secured his title shot with a Season 4 Featherweight Tournament win. But Pitbull suffered a hand injury, and just recently elected for surgery that will keep him out of the gym for 3 months. With the delay, Curran’s title shot has been moved up. Once healed, Pitbull will face the winner of the Curran-Warren Championship fight.
“The timing worked out here,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “To be able to temporarily lose a fighter such as Patricio Pitbull and then to be able to plug in another deserving title contender, Tournament winner and top five Featherweight in Pat Curran is a testament to the depth of our featherweight division.”
For Curran, the Crystal Lake, Illinois native and Season 2 Lightweight Tournament Winner enters the title fight looking to keep his tournament momentum intact. After an impressive Peruvian necktie submission victory over Luis Palomino in the quarterfinals, Curran collected a unanimous decision win over Ronnie Mann. With the victory, Curran secured a spot in the Featherweight Finals against Marlon Sandro, widely regarded as one of the Top 5 featherweights in the world. Curran pushed the pace early, and in the second round delivered a devastating, highlight-reel roundhouse kick to the head of Sandro that left the Brazilian down and out. Curran was awarded the knockout victory, but more importantly a guaranteed world title shot.
“This is going to be a great fight,” Curran said. “. I know I have a size advantage going in, but the pace is always high with Joe, and is obviously a great wrestler, so I’m expecting the best out of him.”
Warren enters the fight in unfamiliar territory as the Team Quest product is coming off his first career Bellator defeat as former Cuban Olympian Alexis Vila took Warren down in the quarterfinals of the Bellator Bantamweight Tournament. That fight is in the past, and the reigning Featherweight Champion is ready to get back into the Bellator cage.
“Everyone knows I’m a world champ at featherweight,” Warren said. “I’m defending my belt, so there is a lot a pride on the line. I thought I was the best bantamweight in that tournament, but I got caught with a shot. I’m excited to show Pat what it means to be in a war.”