Pat Curran pulled off a shocking upset tonight, beating UFC veteran Roger Huerta in the semifinals of the Bellator lightweight tournament with a unanimous decision.
Huerta had a slow start, with Curran landing more strikes in the first round. Huerta woke up in the second round, showing off the beautiful kicks and smart fighting that fans have come to expect out of Huerta. The third round decided the bout, with both fighters throwing punches and completing takedowns.
The fight was close and a decision either way would have been fair, but all three scored it the same, 29-28 for Curran.
In the postfight press conference, an emotional Huerta didn't have an explanation for the loss.
"Pat fought a good fight. I guess I started out slow," Huerta said. "It's my fault for leaving it up to the judges. Taking a loss is pretty hard, and it's hard to swallow. Now I've gotta look into the future."
Toby Imada won the chance to face Curran after Imada won with another submission. Carey Vanier controlled the first round, putting on a showcase of wrestling skills. Vanier threw Imada in a supplex and rolled out of a kneebar, but he couldn't avoid Imada's touted submission skills in the second round. After getting out of a kneebar attempt, Imada was able to secure an armbar, forcing Vanier to tap at 3:33 in the second. Imada is 4-1 in Bellator, and all four wins are by submission.
Bellator's debut in Boston also featured two non-tournament bouts.
First, season one lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez took on UFC veteran Josh Neer. After Alvarez put a beating on Neer for the first round, Alvarez sunk in a standing rear-naked choke and finished the bout on the ground at 2:08 in the second. Neer didn't tap, and was out cold after the bout.
With the lightweight tournament finals set, Alvarez will face the winner of Imada and Curran in a title bout.
Next, two-time NCAA Division I wrestling champion Cole Konrad won over Patrick Bennett in what was just Konrad's third bout. The much-bigger Konrad controlled the bout with his superior wrestling, including a perfectly-executed outside trip takedown in the first round that allowed Konrad to get a full mount. That round set him up for a 30-26, 29-28, 30-27 win.