Daniel Straus had hoped to successfully defend his Bellator featherweight title and, in doing so, even the score with Patrício ‘Pitbull’ Freire. Instead, tonight (April 21) in Uncasville, Connecticut it went the other way, the title and the four-fight series, as Freire submitted Straus with a guillotine choke in round two to once again claim Bellator gold.

The Brazilian was already ahead in the Straus-Pitbull series, of course, having defeated his American rival twice – once by decision, the other by submission – but he had also dropped a five-round decision to Straus in November 2015, a result which saw him relinquish his Bellator featherweight crown.

He was eager to make amends, therefore, eager to once against establish his dominance, and set about doing just this in round one of their Bellator 178 headliner via a stream of well-picked right hand counter punches. These shots got Straus’ attention early and let him know he wouldn’t have things all his own way in part four. They also demonstrated just how well these two men now know each other. No need for a feeling-out process, the two familiar featherweights got down to it from the get-go and, despite there being two decision results among their series of fights, there was a growing sense this fourth and perhaps final fight would be ended within the scheduled distance.

So it proved in round two as Pitbull, his back pushed against the cage by Straus, abruptly executed a standing guillotine, locked it in, and then dropped to the floor and pulled guard to tighten the squeeze. Straus, in a panic, having assumed he was in the driving seat, realised the gravity of predicament and tapped quickly. Just 37 seconds had elapsed in the round.

With that, the title changed hands all over again and Patrício ‘Pitbull’ Freire, 26-4, can finally, once and for all, claim bragging rights over a great rival.

“I was just waiting for the right moment,” Freire, 29, said after the fight. “It’s a dream come true. I told my son, it’s a gift for him.”


Bellator 178 main card results:

Patricio Freire defeated Daniel Straus via second round submission (0:37)

Saad Awad defeated Ryan Quinn via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Ilima-Lei Macfarlane defeated Jessica Middleton via first round submission (2:15)

A.J. McKee defeated Dominic Mazzotta via first round knockout (1:15)