Curran returns from layoff with decision over Macapa at Bellator 184

Kevin Jairaj / USA TODAY Sports

Pat Curran's return to the cage wasn't the prettiest, but it'll do.

The former Bellator featherweight champ took a unanimous decision over the ever-game John "Macapa" Teixeira in his return from a 17-month layoff at Bellator 184 in Thackerville, Okla., on Friday. Curran picked up his third straight win - all on points - with the showing, and now owns the second-most victories in promotional history with 13.

"Paddy Mike" worked from the outside as Macapa stalked him in the early going and pocketed the first round thanks to a pair of stiff right hands that buckled the Brazilian.

Curran appeared reluctant to exploit his edge in technical proficiency on the feet, allowing Macapa to unload kick after kick on his lead leg to make it a nailbiter heading into the third. The former champ ultimately pulled away with the W on the strength of his grappling in the final stanza, neutralizing Macapa for the bulk of it with clinch work and hard-fought takedowns.

Macapa has now dropped two straight decisions after winning four straight to start his Bellator stint.

In the card's bantamweight curtain-jerker, Leandro Higo rode effective striking, some well-timed takedowns, and a late arm-in guillotine attempt to his own unanimous decision victory over the durable Joe Taimanglo.

The Brazilian picked up his first victory under the Bellator banner, while Taimanglo now finds himself on a two-fight skid.