Curran, Sandro advance to Bellator final

Originally Published: July 23, 2011
By Brian Knapp | Sherdog.com

Pat Curran fought at his typically measured pace and paved his road to the Bellator Fighting Championships Summer Series featherweight tournament final one figurative brick at a time.

Curran (15-4, 5-1 BFC) countered effectively, dictated when and where the exchanges took place and controlled the cage en route to a unanimous decision over Ronnie Mann in the Bellator 47 headliner Saturday at the Casino Rama in Rama, Ontario, Canada. All three judges scored the semifinal for Curran: 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27.

A potent offensive fighter blessed with speed and power, Mann (20-4-1, 2-1 BFC) never got out of the gate. Curran bullied him around the cage with tactical movement and fired a number of flying knees his way. Few landed, but they backed up the Englishman and short-circuited his rhythm. Curran scored with a takedown late in the first round, passed to half guard and nullified Mann's bottom game.

Mann's moments were too few and far between to make a difference. He threatened Curran with a guillotine choke in the second round, only to run out of time. Curran unleashed a few leg kicks in Round 3, but Mann finally countered one of his flying knees in the closing seconds. He transitioned to Curran's back and tried desperately to score the submission, first with a rear-naked choke and then with a guillotine. Neither was successful.

Sandro's skills too much for Malegarie

The world-ranked Marlon Sandro secured his place in the Bellator Fighting Championships Summer Series featherweight tournament final with a unanimous decision against Nazareno Malegarie in the co-main event. Sandro (19-2, 2-0 BFC) swept the semifinal scorecards by matching 30-27 counts.

Malegarie (20-2, 1-2 BFC) had no answer for the power and precision of the Brazilian, as combinations from the former Sengoku Raiden Championship titleholder left him damaged and bewildered. Sandro unveiled other aspects of his repertoire in the second round, as he delivered three takedowns and a flying knee. Malegarie tried and failed more than once to get the fight on the ground, where his considerable grappling skills might have leveled the playing field a bit.

Uppercuts, jabs, left hooks and counter right hands all found their marks for Sandro in the third round, as the 34-year-old Nova Uniao standout won for the fifth time in six fights.

Grove batters Jensen en route to TKO

London-based South African Neil Grove took out "The Ultimate Fighter" Season 10 alum Zak Jensen with a series of brutal first-round elbows, forearms, punches and hammerfists on the ground in a featured heavyweight duel. The end to the action-packed scrap came 2:00 into Round 1.

Jensen dropped Grove during an initial exchange between the two but surrendered dominant position and wound up underneath the 6-foot-6, 265-pound UFC veteran. The fight remained on the canvas the rest of the way. The 40-year-old Grove (11-3-1, 3-1 BFC) pelted his foe with heavy shots from inside an open guard, leaned back for an ankle lock, traded seated punches and returned to top position. From there, he again battered Jensen (10-7, 0-1 BFC), who finally wilted under the onslaught.

"I've been training really hard here in America," Grove said. "I've spent a lot of time away from home. He hit me with a couple of hard shots. I'm learning what to do on the ground, and I made use of it."

Bezerra scores quick submission

Once-beaten Brazilian prospect Alexandre Bezerra needed less than a minute and a half to put away Jesse Gross in his second Bellator appearance, as he rendered the 23-year-old Canadian unconscious with a rear-naked choke 1:28 into Round 1.

Bezerra (10-1, 2-0 BFC) paired a right hand with a double-leg takedown and transitioned almost immediately to his opponent's back. He cinched the choke underneath the chin, tightened his grip and waited for Gross (6-2, 0-1 BFC) to black out. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, Bezerra has rattled off five consecutive victories.

Romero outpoints Langbeen, ends skid

William Romero halted a three-fight losing streak with a unanimous decision victory over King of the Cage veteran Daniel Langbeen in a lightweight dark match. Two of the three judges, Jason Rodgers and Frank Jackson, scored it 30-27 for Romero; a third, Pasquale Procopio, saw it 29-28 for the Canadian.

Romero (6-3, 1-1 BFC), who had not won in nearly two years, set the tone from the start. The 28-year-old scored with two first-round takedowns and landed the cleaner strikes over the course of the 15-minute encounter. He attacked the grounded Langbeen's legs from a standing position with regularity, racking up points with his defenseless opponent on his back.

With two rounds in his pocket, Romero followed a beautiful three-punch combination with another takedown, transitioned to Langbeen's back and threatened briefly with a choke. Langbeen (3-4, 0-1 BFC) reversed into Romero's guard and landed a few elbows from top position. They represented his only significant offense of the fight.