By Zach Arnold | March 15, 2014
Atta boy @PatCurranMMA damn son that was beautiful to watch
— Jens Pulver (@Jens_Pulver) March 15, 2014
And now Curran’s reward will be a title defense against Patricio Pitbull. They should put that fight on the May 17th PPV.
Friday’s fight at the Horseshoe in Hammond, Indiana was interesting on multiple levels. When Straus beat Curran last November by decision, it was safe to assume that the same kind of outcome could have happened here — and that appeared to be the trajectory. Scoring this fight was difficult and there’s no way that there would have been a universal winner on the score cards. Personally, I would have been fine with any score outside of Straus winning all five rounds. As MMA Junkie pointed out, the score cards heading into round five saw one judge for Straus, one judge for Curran, and one judge tied at two rounds a piece.
I thought the first two rounds, both of which were fast-paced and aggressively skilled, could have gone either way. I liked the submission attempts Straus attempted in R1, but there seemed to be consensus opinion that Curran won R1. Straus won R2 when he whacked Curran with a left hook and demonstrated some really good striking. He was often on target and crisp with his punches. R3 is when both fighters started slowing down, although there was some good striking on display. Curran attacked with some knees. I gave that round to Straus. R4 was really hard to score and I would have accepted any outcome on the cards here. Straus did connect well with strikes but there was a lot of clinching against the cage. I gave it to Straus by barely. So, after four rounds, I had it 39-37 in favor of Straus.
Before round five started, Curran’s corner told him it was a very close fight and that they needed to “take this kid out.” It was clear that Curran was going to win R5 on the cards with his effort. He connected with some great knees and went for a takedown. Eventually he was able to reverse position against Straus’s takedown defense and get him down to the ground. With about 75 seconds left in the round, Curran got his back mounted and that was big trouble. It was as if Straus was out of gas at this point. With 60 seconds left, Curran got a choke sleeper hold on Straus and the drama was building in a hurry. Could Straus hang on until the end to make it interesting on the cards? I was convinced that he was going to tap with 30 seconds left but he didn’t. I was expecting someone to scream at Straus that he had a few seconds left to make it to the bell. Instead, he tapped out with 15 seconds left.
What a moment that was. And, immediately, Twitter went crazy.
In 20 years of watching MMA, I've never seen anything like Straus quickly popping up to hug Curran after being subbed,
— David Bixenspan (@davidbix) March 15, 2014
“Screw the trilogy, I want best of five.”
This was a really intriguing fight and much different than I thought it would play out in the re-match. Straus let his emotions show throughout the fight and it was something to see his corner men console him after the loss. Curran sounded like a man who knew he had been in the fight of his life and had pulled a rabbit out of his hat. If the fight had gone to the cards, Curran would have won a split decision. There’s no doubt that a trilogy fight will be upcoming in the 12 to 18 months.
A great start to a busy MMA weekend.