IRVINE – Pat Curran (18-4-0) retained his featherweight title by defeating Season 4 Tournament winner Patricio Freire (17-2-0). Now, Curran will face Season 6 Featherweight tourney winner Daniel Straus who has been waiting for his title shot since October of last year.

Through the first three rounds the action between Curran and Freire was stalemated with neither gaining the advantage. In the first two, the fighters traded punches, but no round was really taken by one or the other. The third round is when the fighters started to open up more, but it was still hard to gauge who was winning the fight with either of them taking the rounds. Both fighters traded big punches, and Freire started to bleed more from his nose.

In the fourth, Curran took control. Freire started to slow, and that was when the champion opened up with combination, kicks to the body, and even attempts to take it to the ground. While the challenger attempted to throw punches it seemed that Curran was easily evading them. The last round was all Curran with him bloodying Freire and landing multiple shots. Freire tried to close the round out big by going for broke, but he was unable to land anything substantial.

Official – Pat Curran defeats Patricio Freire via split decision (47-48, 48-47, 48-47)

Curran was a real unknown when he entered the lightweight tournament back in Season 2, but the drop to featherweight in the Summer Series of 2011 has produced a star. He has finishes over Joe Warren, Luis Palomino, and Marlon Sandro. Those fights coupled with his first title defense over Patricio Freire make him someone to keep a close eye on in the featherweight division. For now, Bellator is just happy to have their 145 champion back and healthy so he can get a few more defenses under his belt.