Former two-weight Bellator MMA champion, Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire is eager to reclaim his two-weight titleholder moniker in the future — and maintains if he needs to climb the featherweight ranks once more in order to clash with A.J. ‘Mercenary’ McKee, that’s something he would entertain.
Headlining Bellator 263 in July from the Staples Centre in Los Angeles, California — Freire met with hometown favorite, the undefeated, McKee in the organization’s featherweight World Grand Prix finale, attempting to win the $1 million fight purse and defend his title as part of an already dominant reign.
Within just two minutes of the opening round, the Natal native succumbed to a standing guillotine from McKee following a high-kick knockdown, dropping his featherweight championship in quite emphatic fashion.
Following the bout, Freire congratulated McKee on his championship success and his tournament victory. However, ‘Pitbull’ called for an immediate rematch for the featherweight title, while McKee noted his interest in chasing the Brazilian to lightweight in a bid to don himself as a two-weight gold holder.
Freire’s head coach, Eric Albarracin also questioned why the challenger received hometown advantage compared to the defending champion, before suggesting McKee should make the trip to hostile territory in Brazil for a title rematch.
Whilst a re-run against McKee or any other pairing has yet to materialize or surface for Freire so far, the 34-year-old South American noted his intentions to become reacquainted with 145lbs gold again in the future, and if required to run through a list of contenders, he would do so.
and if I did so, I felt guilty right away. However, I am fine with this situation. I feel alive and with a lot of desire to fight, and to climb all the way up again if needed.— Patricio Pitbull (@PatricioPitbull) September 8, 2021
Friends, I'll be back soon. The parting from the belt was just a "see you soon"!
“After the journey defending the (Bellator) featherweight belt ended (for now), I tried to give a rest to my mind and have a return to practices a little bit later, at least this time,” Freire tweeted. “But there’s something bigger moving me at this moment. I can’t even skip a practice and if I do, I felt guilt right away. However, I am fine with this situation. I feel alive and with a lot of desire to fight, and to climb all the way up again if needed. Friends, I’ll be back soon. The parting from the belt was just a “see you soon”!“
32-5 as a professional following his first loss in seven outings against McKee two months ago, Freire had run through contenders during the World Grand Prix — dispatching Emmanuel Sanchez, Pedro Carvalho, and former bantamweight champion, Juan Archuleta.
A slick submission artist and knockout-ace to boot, the long-time Bellator staple has also defeated the likes of Wilson Reis (x2), Georgi Karakhanyan, Daniel Straus (x3), Pat Curran, Daniel Weichel (x2), Henry Corrales, as well as one-time UFC lightweight title challenger, former three-time Bellator champion, Michael Chandler.
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