Patricio Pitbull (22-2-0) makes his first featherweight title defense against Daniel Straus (23-5-0) in the main event of Bellator 132. Pitbull handed Straus 1 of only 2 losses in his last 9 fights in Bellator 45. Both fighters are equally agile and versatile, so what will edge the decision if the fight goes the distance? Examining their previous fight, we review what made the difference when it came to the judges’ scorecards.
One of the most important variables to note is the counterpunching and countermaneuvering talent they both possess. The fight opened with Straus skillfully ducking under Pitbull’s right hook for a takedown, but Pitbull was able to stand up and work in the clinch right away. The wrestling and takedown trade over the course of the fight was pretty equal. Both fighters did well when it came to takedowns, but neither could really capitalize on them when it came to groundwork or ground and pound. Straus almost had Pitbull in guillotine trouble in the closing seconds of round two, but was stopped by the bell. Pitbull effectively sprawled many times in the fight, but he couldn’t manage to keep Straus pinned on the canvas. The key to the ground game of the featherweight title fight will be turning those takedowns and sprawls into submission and ground and pound opportunities.
Southpaw (Straus) vs. orthodox (Pitbull) fights always makes for a tricky striking battle. When it came down to tallying the scorecards, striking is where Pitbull took the decision. Both fighters were careful to size each other up, looking hesitant many times in round 2 and 3. However, it was Pitbull that took the aggressive initiative to start the action after the standstills. It wasn’t without good reason though, they both have one-punch KO power (see Daniel Straus KO Justin Wilcox and Pitbull KO Diego Nunes). It’s dangerous for both fighters to be the aggressor because of how strong they are when it comes to counterstriking, but if their title fight is anything like their first, the fighter who takes the initiative to be more aggressive should win if the fight goes the distance once again.