Pat Curran Says Playing it “Safe” Key to Ensuring Tourney Finals Spot
By Kelsey Mowatt
It may not have produced the fireworks that most fans likely anticipated when Pat Curran faced fellow rising featherweight Ronnie Mann Saturday night, but Curran is taking solace in the fact that he did what he needed to do at Bellator 47. Not only did Curran score a unanimous decision victory over Mann to advance to the finals of the promotion’s “Summer Series” featherweight tourney, but the former lightweight reports he emerged from the bout ready to compete again in less than one month’s time. (Pictured: Curran (right) launching a knee at Mann on July 23rd)
“I’m happy with the performance,” Curran told FCF. “I feel like it was a safe fight; I played it safe because I knew I didn’t want to get any injuries. I knew I would be fighting again in less than a month so I stuck to the game plan and picked him apart little by little. I didn’t take any necessary risks that might lead to me getting caught with a lucky punch or a lucky submission.”
The “Summer Series” tournament has certainly allowed both the fans and fighters to remain engaged in the competition, as the opening round of the tourney just took place on June 25th, however, with such a short window occurring between fights any injury could promptly end a fighter’s run.
“I focus on the fight in front of me but in it’s always in the back of my mind that I have to prepare myself for less than a month away,” Curran added, who caught Luis Palomino with a highlight reel, first round Peruvian Necktie in the competition’s quarterfinals last month. “If I go and just try to give it my all in that second fight, I could easily come out with an injury, and it would lead to big problems with my training camp…I just wanted to make it to the finals.”
While Curran (15-4) is also noted for his striking abilities, the experienced wrestler largely elected to stand and trade with Mann, who knocked out Adam Schindler in the first round of the tourney quarterfinals.
“I got him down in the first round but I felt that when I did get down there on his hips, and when I was shooting for a double, he was going right for my neck,” the 23 year-old Curran said. “He was going right for a guillotine. So I knew I had the reach on him and that I was in a good place with my jab, with my counters, so I stuck to standing with him. I felt more comfortable in that position.”
One of Bellator’s more notable signings in recent months was the addition of former Sengoku featherweight champ Marlon Sandro (19-2), who worked his way to a UD victory over Nazareno Malegarie Saturday to entrench a spot in the tourney finals.
“He’s a really big name, has a great record and I know he’s ranked as one of the top featherweights in the world,” said Curran while discussing the fact he will fight one of the promotion’s more established fighters next. “Jose Aldo is his training partner and this will be a great opportunity for me to test myself, see where my skill level is in the 145lb. division.”
“I feel like he matches up really well against my style because he’s unpredictable, and he moves a lot, but I feel like there’s going to be a lot of openings for me,” Curran added.
Not only is Sandro a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt with Nova Uniao, but the 34 year-old Brazilian recorded four first round knockouts during his time with Sengoku.
“If he tries to get it to the ground and starts shooting in I’m going to be aware,” said Curran while discussing how his wrestling background could play in the fight. “I’ll try to keep it standing if I feel like I’m beating him up with the stand-up. If he’s getting the better of me on the feet I’ll take it down…Wherever the fight goes I’m ready to go.”
The “Summer Series” finals will be hosted by the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut, on August 20th.