For the first time in more than a year, Bellator MMA will bring an event to the region.
The mixed martial arts promotion returns to Hammond in March for Bellator 112, officials recently announced, and a title fight will top the nationally televised bill.
Bellator featherweight champion Daniel Straus will defend his title in a rematch against former champ Pat Curran, who lives and trains in the north suburbs. The event is set for March 14 at The Venue at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, and the main card will get a live broadcast on Spike TV. Tickets currently are on sale through Ticketmaster and The Venue box office.
"Daniel Straus and Pat Curran are two of the best featherweights on the planet and deserve every ounce of praise and recognition they receive," Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said in a statement. "I’m very excited to have this title fight headline a huge night of fights from Hammond."
Curran (19-5, 9-2 Bellator), who in 2008 fought current UFC standout Darren Elkins at the Hammond Civic Center, had a six-fight winning streak snapped in November when he dropped a decision to Straus in their title fight at Bellator 106. That streak included a knockout of Joe Warren to win the championship at Bellator 60, the first time the promotion visited Hammond.
The loss to Straus (22-4, 8-1 Bellator) was a rematch of a fight the two had in Lakemoor, Ill., in 2009 under the XFO banner. Curran won by that fight by knockout, but Straus was a step ahead of him all fight in their rematch. Now Curran gets another shot not far from his home.
"I'm just ready to get back into the cage and get another shot at Daniel," Curran said. "I had a few things going on in my life when we fought in November, but those things are behind me and I don’t like to make excuses. Hammond has been a great fight city for me. It’s where I won the belt for the first time, and it’s where I’m going to reclaim it.”
In addition to the featherweight title fight, Bellator 112 will feature the start of the promotion's Season 10 welterweight tournament. Additional fights will be announced in coming weeks.
The promotion previously visited The Venue three times for Bellator 60, Bellator 75 and Bellator 84, all in 2012.