Jeff Curran has won 33 professional mixed martial arts bouts since he debuted in January 1998, but none of them have come inside the confines of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s Octagon.
Now 34, Curran will take another swipe at victory when he meets Johnny Eduardo in a preliminary bantamweight bout at UFC on Fuel TV 3 “Korean Zombie vs. Poirier” on Tuesday at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va. Nearly nine out of 10 players, 89 percent to be exact, in the Sherdog.com MMA Pick’Em fantasy game have picked “The Big Frog” to beat Eduardo.
A seasoned Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who once fought Urijah Faber for the World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight championship, Curran last appeared at UFC 137 in October, losing a unanimous decision to Scott Jorgensen. Eduardo, meanwhile, has recorded 11 wins in his past 12 outings. The 33-year-old Nova Uniao export wound up on the short side of a unanimous verdict against Raphael Assuncao in his promotional debut at UFC 134 in August.
Other Pick’Em trends for the UFC on Fuel TV 3 prelims:
• A healthy 81 percent of participants favor Canadian submission specialist T.J. Grant in his lightweight battle against Carlo Prater. The 28-year-old Grant has not won back-to-back fights since 2009;
• Eight out of 10 users expect “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 12 alum Cody McKenzie and his feared guillotine choke to provide a rude welcome to UFC newcomer Marcus LeVesseur. McKenzie, 24, will look to bounce back from consecutive submission losses to Yves Edwards and Vagner Rocha. LeVesseur has won three in a row;
• Once-beaten “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 11 semifinalist Brad Tavares will enter the cage against Korean Top Team representative Dongi Yang as a heavy favorite, according to 80 percent of pickers. Tavares fell from the ranks of the unbeaten in his last appearance, losing a unanimous decision to Aaron Simpson at UFC 132;
• Plenty of players are in the corner of Rafael dos Anjos, as 78 percent of them expect the Brazilian to get by former WEC headliner Kamal Shalorus in their 155-pound encounter;
• Two-thirds of participants have sided with Francisco Rivera in his bantamweight duel against Alex Soto. The 30-year-old Rivera earned his return ticket to the UFC with a pair of first-round knockouts inside the Tachi Palace Fights promotion.