Bellator Fighting Championships featherweight contender Daniel Straus (17-4) picked up an impressive win over UFC veteran Jason Dent (21-12) this past weekend to build some momentum for his Bellator return and bounce back from his first loss in over two years.
In the October 15 main event of NAAFS: Caged Fury 15 in Cleveland, Ohio, Straus took Dent down to the mat at will, avoiding the cagey veteran’s submission attack and delivering more than enough ground-and-pound damage to win a comfortable decision and the NAAFS lightweight title.
Not only did Straus defeat a tough opponent, he did it in a five-round contest for the second time in his career. That experience will come in handy the next time he looks to win Bellator gold.
“It was a great win for me,” Straus said. “Jason is a tough opponent. And when you train for a five-round fight, you know your cardio is going to get a lot better.”
Straus advanced to the finals of the Bellator Season 4 featherweight tournament after defeating Nazareno Malegarie and Kenny Foster, before losing a competitive decision to Patricio “Pitbull” Freire. The match broke Straus’s 12-fight win streak and represented his first since an April 2009 setback against Pat Curran (16-4).
“I didn’t push the action like I usually do,” Straus said of the loss to Freire. “I respected his game and he respected mine, but he pushed the pace harder than I did.
“After I lost the fight, I kept telling myself, that’s what you get. I wasn’t super-bothered by it, but it let me know that I needed to train harder.”
With that lesson learned, Straus plans to come back better than ever and relishes the chance to test himself against an extremely deep Bellator 145-pound division that includes Curran, Freire, current champion Joe Warren, and former Sengoku champion Marlon Sandro.
“The 145 weight class is stacked,” he said. “That’s one of the things that pushes me. The tougher the guys that I fight, the better I get. It’s a blessing to be a part of such a great division.”
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