Tonight could be doubly sweet for Bellator lightweight veteran Patricky ‘Pitbull’ Freire if he is able to earn a win at Bellator 157. In doing so he would avenge his loss to former champ Michael Chandler and would claim the vacant 155lb title.
Having lost a unanimous decision to Chandler roughly five years ago, Freire is now confident he has evolved to a higher level than his lightweight rival.
“Chandler hasn’t changed much from what he was when we first fought,” Pitbull told FO via a translator. “He’s still the same guy that tries to bull-rush his opponents. He tries to run through them like he’s a tractor. It’s a quality of him but it’s also a weakness. He hasn’t evolved much technically. He leaves a lot of openings for me to exploit.”
“When we fight I’m sure I’ll be able to frustrate him,” he added. “The more the fight plays out the more he’ll be frustrated. When he sees what he does is not working he will rely on his wrestling. He will not be able to take me down and he’s only going to drown from there.”
The Brazilian may be confident entering this title fight, but the 23-fight veteran isn’t going to let that confidence affect his performance. Instead he will look to execute his strategy calmly and professionally, and add on to his current two-fight streak.
“I always keep an open mind about things but at the same time I always think about the knockout. I always look for it. But this time I’m not going to rush it, I’m not going to pressure it.”
Freire isn’t going to make the mistake of looking passed Chandler, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t thought about what he wants next.
“I think the most fair would be for me to fight Marcin Held,” Patricky said when asked about his first title defense. “It’s a guy who’s beaten me before and is in a constant evolution. He’s bigger now, he’s evolved his striking and he completely dominated Dave Jansen in their last fight. I think that’s the fight that would make the most sense.”
He added: “But Josh Thomson and Ben Henderson are out there and I’m very much looking forward to fighting those two when Bellator matches us up.”
Bellator 157 takes place June 24th at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri.