When it comes to his first bout of 2019 this past January at Fight Night 9, welterweight Chris Curtis had a fight he wasn’t expecting, but nonetheless was able to come out with one of his strongest performances to date.
After a series of injuries to fighters, Curtis found himself moving up in weight to fight Matt Dwyer for the Fight Night middleweight championship and ultimately coming away with a majority decision victory.
“The first couple rounds were tough fighting a six-foot-four guy (in Dwyer), but in the second round and third round I found my rhythm and timing, and I just started beating on him,” Curtis told MMAWeekly.com.
“I thought I finished the fight earlier, but the ref was being weird about it. I just kept the pressure on and it turned into a bloody mess, completely one-sided, I was happy with the performance.”
Having had close decision not go his way in bouts he felt he had won, Curtis was relieved to have come out on top this time.
“I’ve been on the end of some weird scores, so I’m not really surprised anymore,” said Curtis. “When I fought Nah-shon Burrell (for CES in 2016) every outlet had me winning at least four rounds, but he ended up winning a split decision. A lot of the times I end up on the short end of the stick.”
On Thursday in Long Island, N.Y., Curtis (20-5) was originally slated to face middleweight title winner Louis Taylor (18-4-1) in a 170-pound main event of Professional Fighters League’s first event of the 2019 season.
“He’s a really good fighter; he won those five fights and won that (middleweight) championship last year; but at the same time, welterweight is a much, much, different animal than middleweight,” Curtis said of Taylor. “Welterweight is one of those weight classes where the rules are different; the pacing is different; the athleticism is different.”
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With Taylor having withdrawn from the 2019 PFL season, Curtis now faces Andre Fialho (10-1), who moves over to the PFL following a 4-1 stint under the Bellator banner.
Despite the change in opponent, for Curtis, the regular season schedule leading into the playoffs that the PFL offers is something he feels will only benefit him, resulting in stronger showings in the end.
“It’s maddening to not know when you’ll fight again,” said Curtis. “It’s stressful. It’s so cool knowing that I can have my entire year laid out for me right now. I don’t find (the PFL schedule) daunting at all. It’s a load off my shoulders.
“As a fighter, it’s phenomenal to know exactly when I’m going to fight, how long I have to train for, to manage my finances and camp around it. It’s absolutely amazing. Not having to worry about these things it will make the performances better.”