This past weekend, at Bellator 112, Pat Curran recaptured his Bellator Featherweight championship in a sensational five round battle against the former champion, Daniel Straus.
After four rounds of exciting action, Curran’s corner told him that he would likely have to finish Straus in the fifth to take home the belt. With just under 30 seconds to go in the fight, Curran was able to latch on the fight ending rear naked choke. It was an astonishing end to a fantastic rubber match.
Bellator was given a lot of flak for giving Curran an immediate rematch with Straus while Patricio Pitbull was waiting in line. Back at Bellator 106, then champion, Pat Curran was handily defeated by Straus by unanimous decision. Many expected Curran to be sent back into the tournament as Pitbull and Straus battled for the title.
Instead, Bellator went with the immediate rematch, and the fight delivered. After the fight, Bjorn Rebney announced that Pat Curran would take on Patricio Pitbull next, and the winner of that bout would face off against Straus. Clearly, Bellator is giving Straus the similar treatment they gave Curran after he lost at Bellator 106. Instead of going back into the tournament, Straus will fight for the title once again in his next bout.
In a recent interview with Bloody Elbow, Rebney explained the situation regarding his top three Featherweights and how Bellator will not be moving away from a tournament structure:
Look, Straus became Straus out of the tournament, Curran became Curran out of the tournament. That’s the case with all of these guys. I don’t ever want to forget the evolutionary process that gave us Daniel Straus, and that’s the tournament.
So what I have to do is I have to be cognizant mathematically of not over-tournamenting certain weight classes like we have here. Straus and Curran and Pitbull are three of the best Featherweights on earth so the opportunity to do fights with those guys is something I’m going to take advantage of because they deserve it. So what I’ve got to do is potentially slow down the tournaments at 145 to give these fights a chance to work themselves out and then start it up again. It’s about seeing what’s happening and being able to react accordingly.
But I’m never going to turn away from the tournament because that’s literally where we get Daniel from, that’s where we get Chandler from. So no.
Rebney makes a few great points above. It is clear that the Straus, Curran, and Pitbull are on top of the Featherweight ladder in Bellator and they should all have it out before re-entering the tournament.