Pat Curran to fight Daniel Straus
The bout is part of Bellator's first pay-per-view card. Former UFC light heavyweight champions Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Tito Ortiz are slated to meet in the main event.
"It means the world to me to be able to defend my title on [Bellator's] first pay-per-view, especially with such a tough fight ahead of me," said Curran, who is ranked second among 145-pound fighters by ESPN.com and owns a career record of 19-4. "I'm not taking Straus lightly. He is an incredibly tough featherweight, and I'm not even thinking about our first fight in 2009; we are two totally different guys right now."
In their first meeting, which took place April 17, 2009, at Xtreme Fighting Organization 29, Curan knocked out Straus in the second round. The two were scheduled to meet in a rematch April 4 in Atlantic City, N.J., for Curran's Bellator title. But a broken left hand, suffered during a training session, forced Straus to pull out of the bout.
Straus was replaced by Season 7 featherweight tournament winner Shahbulat Shamhalaev, who was submitted by Curran in the first round.
Straus' troubles, however, did not end with his broken hand. He was arrested on March 1 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for driving with a suspended license, being in possession of more than 20 grams of cannabis (marijuana), more than three grams of synthetic cannabis, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of the drug MDMA (ecstasy).
Since the arrest, Florida authorities have placed travel limitations on Straus. But Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney worked diligently to get those restrictions lifted for this fight.
"I've faced so many setbacks over the last year, and my title shot is finally here," said Straus, who is 21-4. "When Pat and I met in 2009, we were two completely different fighters. Both of us have developed so much in that time, but I still want that loss off my record."
Lightweight champion Michael Chandler puts his belt on the line against former titleholder Eddie Alvarez in the co-main event. Chandler lifted the belt from Alvarez in November 2011 with a fourth-round submission. He has fought won three fights in a row since -- successfully defending the belt twice during that span.
The main card features another rematch as former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Muhammed Lawal faces Emanuel Newton for the Bellator interim 205-pound title. In their first fight, on Feb. 21, Newton upset Lawal by knocking him out in the opening round.