Patricky Pitbull is keeping his focus, despite a late change of opponent at Bellator vs. Rizin 2.
Brazilian lightweight contender Pitbull was prepped and ready to take on former featherweight champion AJ McKee at this weekend’s cross-promoted event in Saitama Japan, but after McKee was forced out of the event with an infection, reigning Rizin lightweight champion Roberto “Satoshi” Souza has agreed to step in.
It means Pitbull faces a very different test as he gets ready to face one of the most dangerous pure grapplers in the lightweight division. But, despite the change of assignment, Pitbull is keeping his composure as he prepares to compete at the Saitama Super Arena on Sunday.
“This is always bad, but this happens every show, it’s normal,” said Pitbull, whose bout with Souza remains part of the $1 million Bellator Lightweight World Grand Prix.
“Roberto is a high-level opponent, he’s a champion from Rizin, he’s a tough guy with very good jiu-jitsu. I believe he won the fight against AJ McKee, so for me he’s the best opponent to stay in front of me this Saturday, so let’s go, I’m ready.”
Pitbull, whose brother, featherweight champion Patricio, has also been added to the fight card in Japan, said that he’s keeping his eyes on the prize as he looks to progress to the semi-finals of the tournament and in the process move one step closer to the million-dollar paycheck.
“The opponent changed, but my focus is the same,” he said.
“Take the victory and keep the eyes on the million.”
The bout offers a huge opportunity for Souza, who Bellator president Scott Coker revealed he wanted in the tournament from the very start. Now Coker gets his wish, with “Satoshi” entering the Grand Prix on short notice to face Pitbull in his adopted home of Japan.
“I’m very excited, I’m very happy for this opportunity for me to be able to participate in the Bellator Lightweight Grand Prix,” he said.
“This is something that I wanted, but unfortunately at the time, it didn’t happen. But now it’s happening – although it’s very short notice – I’ll be fighting a very tough fighter, a former Bellator champion, and I’ll work very hard to get myself a win.
“I take pride that I represent Rizin and the Japanese fans, and I will do this for (them).”