Pat Curran flattened Marlon Sandro at Bellator 48. | Photo: Dave Mandel
It came out of nowhere and wiped out Marlon Sandro in a blink.
Cut near his left eye and perhaps trailing on the scorecards, Pat Curran unleashed a right head kick and knocked out Sandro in the Bellator Fighting Championships Summer Series featherweight tournament final at Bellator 48 on Saturday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The kick and follow-up punches finished it 4:00 into round two.
“I’m speechless,” said Curran, who has won three fights in a row and seven of his last eight. “I feel great. I can’t explain it.”
Curran (16-4, 6-1 BFC), who captured the promotion’s Season 2 lightweight draw, became the first man to win Bellator tournaments in two different weight classes. The victory over Sandro earned the 23-year-old $100,000 and a shot at Bellator featherweight champion Joe Warren.
“Absolutely spectacular performance,” said Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney. “[Curran is a] two-time tournament champion, and now he’ll get a shot at the title.”
Sandro, the aggressor throughout the encounter, moved out to an early lead, attacking Curran with leg kicks, left hooks and uppercuts. By the time round two arrived, blood was flowing from a lateral cut on Curran’s left brow, a byproduct no doubt of Sandro’s stout right hand.
The window of opportunity seemed to be closing on Curran. However, he caught Sandro leaning back and delivered the kick while the Brazilian was at his most vulnerable. Clean and unobstructed, it landed with an audible smack and sent the defenseless Sandro to the mat. Curran followed with a few right hands, leaving no doubt regarding the stoppage. Sandro (19-3, 2-1 BFC), the reigning featherweight King of Pancrase, had never before been finished.
Konrad Outstrikes Buentello, Earns Decision
Bellator heavyweight champion Cole Konrad showcased his underrated and rarely seen standup skills, as he took a unanimous decision from the well-traveled Paul Buentello in a non-title bout. Konrad (8-0, 6-0 BFC) swept the scorecards from the cageside judges: 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27.
Content to keep the fight standing for the first two rounds, Konrad appeared to catch his seasoned opponent off guard. He attacked effectively from the outside with a stiff left jab and kicks to the inside of Buentello’s lead leg, mixing in the occasional right uppercut.
“I wanted to come out and show I could stand up with a great striker,” said Konrad, a two-time NCAA wrestling champion and four-time All-American at the University of Minnesota. “I think I showed some people that.”
The fight hit the ground in the third round, but only after an exchange on the feet resulted in Buentello taking a spill to his backside. Konrad pounced, threatened with a rear-naked choke and later worked some ground-and-pound from half guard. Short elbows and punches found their mark. A restart with 67 seconds left in the match gave Buentello (29-14, 0-1 BFC) one last crack at the upset, but he could mount no offense of consequence.
Petruzelli Counter Flattens Rodriguez
Seth Petruzelli sent an oncoming Ricco Rodriguez to the floor with a brutal counter right hand and polished off the former UFC heavyweight champion with first-round hammerfists. The end to their featured 230-pound catchweight bout came 4:21 into round one, as Petruzelli became the first man since Tim Sylvia turned the trick at UFC 41 more than eight years ago to knock out Rodriguez.
From the start, it became clear Petruzelli (14-6, 1-0 BFC) was the vastly superior standup fighter. He peppered Rodriguez with powerful right hands and thudding low kicks. With no avenue through which to move the fight to the ground, Rodriguez resorted to pulling guard. Even that proved fruitless. Petruzelli set up the finish with a pair of spinning kicks, one of which belted the chest of his foe, the other grazing his head.
Rodriguez (47-12, 0-1 BFC) came forward, ate the punch and went down. With that, his career-best 12-fight winning streak was over.
Nazare Brutalizes, Stops Barrantes
Undefeated Brazilian prospect Rene Nazare smashed through Juan Barrantes with relentless offense on the feet and on the ground, forcing a doctor’s stoppage in between rounds two and three of their featured lightweight bout.
Nazare (10-0, 3-0 BFC) swarmed from the start and never let up. The 28-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt blasted Barrantes with punches, secured a takedown roughly midway through round one and unleashed some hellish ground-and-pound on the Costa Rican. Nazare threatened with a late topside guillotine choke but ran out of time.
Barrantes (7-6, 1 NC, 0-1 BFC) fared no better in the second round, as Nazare kept up his ruthless onslaught. Two more takedowns and elbows from the top ensued, as the Team Bombsquad representative grinded away at what was left of Barrantes. By the end of the round, his right eye had swelled completely shut and he was deemed unfit to continue.
In preliminary matchups, Jeff Nader 5-4 (1-0 BFC) came from behind to stop “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 7 alum Dan Cramer (7-3, 4-1 BFC) on a series of uppercuts 1:04 into round three; Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts representative Nik Fekete (5-1, 1-1 BFC) finished Mark Griffin (3-3-1, 0-1 BFC) with ground-and-pound 3:12 into the second round; Ring of Combat veteran Andrew Calandrelli (5-3, 1-0 BFC) submitted Matt Nice (2-2, 0-1 BFC) with a key lock 3:55 into round one; Ryan Quinn (6-2-1, 3-0 BFC) sent Brett Oteri into unconsciousness with a rear-naked choke 1:49 into the first round; Saul Almeida (10-1, 1-0 BFC) outpointed Tateki Matsuda (6-3, 0-1 BFC) en route to a unanimous decision -- 30-27, 29-28 and 30-27.
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