Patricio Pitbull Plans To Reclaim Bellator Featherweight Title, Willing To Climb Ranks Again

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.

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.


Ross Markey

An MMA fan since 2011 and covering the sport since 2016, Ross Markey has built himself into a top journalist in combat sports.

First catching on to MMA and the UFC in particular back when Brock Lesnar fought Shane Carwin, and even more so when he fought Alistair Overeem back in 2011, Ross really became enchanted with the sport from late-2013-2014 onwards.

He initially began covering MMA in tandem with football back in June 2016 just as he was finishing school. The first real event he covered on his own personal blog was UFC 200 in July of that year during international fight week. His content consisted of previews and event and results recaps. In between jobs, Ross produced content on the side before transitioning to a full-time position back in early 2019.

He initially started creating content on his own blog back in June of 2016, before becoming a staff writer, lead writer, and editor for websites such as MMA Motion, Combat Insiders, Fight Bananas, FightPost, Severe MMA, MMA Power Hour, FightBook MMA, LowKick MMA, and of course, Current MMA.

Back in 2019, Ross received the award Top Journalist of 2019 for FightBook MMA, before he was then promoted to the website's lead writer. Following a six-month period at MMA Power Hour, he was also employed as a junior editor for the company. Throughout his time in the industry, he has interviewed the likes of Colby Covington, Rhys McKee, Pedro Carvalho, Felicia Spencer, Eryk Anders, Jussier Formiga, Danni Neilan, Frans Mlambo, Alex Lohore, Blaine O'Driscoll, Modestas Bukauskas, Ross Houston, Jon Fitch, and Richie Smullen.

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