30-Year-Old Bellator Featherweight 24-3-0
April 30, 2018 Patricio Freire News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Freire will take on Daniel Weichel in a featherweight matchup at the promotion's July 14 event in Rome, ESPN's Brett Okamoto reports.
Freire hasn't fought in over a full calendar year, as his original matchup against Weichel at Bellator 188 was postponed after "Pitbull" suffered a knee injury. Now 30 years old, Freire is 2-2 in his last four Bellator fights, and will face an opponent that has won his last four bouts. The two have faced off before, back in June 2015, and Freire emerged victorious via second-round KO (punch). Look for "PItbull" to enter as a betting favorite as he attempts to get back into the title conversation.
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Fantasy AnalysisFeire indicated he's actually dealing with a few different injuries, but the knee was most notable and the reason he'll be unable to defend his belt against Wichel on Nov. 16. He's expected to take the next 30 days off entirely before resuming training again, but Freire did indicate he plans to reschedule the fight against Weichel in February at the latest, so an eventual matchup between the two should eventually take place.
Fantasy AnalysisFreire will be defending his second reign as Bellator featherweight champion, which he won back with a second-round submission over Daniel Straus at Bellator 178 in April, when he takes on Weichel. The fight will be a rematch of their championship encounter in June 2015, which Freire won in a second-round knockout. Freire has been dominant as of late, going 9-1 over his past 10 outings at featherweight. Weichel has won 11 of his past 12 fights, including going 4-0 in the Bellator cage.
Fantasy AnalysisPitbull easily won the first round of the contest, keeping Straus at bay with high kicks and making him hesitant to engage. Round 2 saw the men engage in a scramble early, wherein Pitbull wrapped the neck and jumped guard. Straus' tap seemed a little quick, but Pitbull had positioned himself against the cage, making it difficult for his opponent to move. It has been a long road back for Pitbull after fracturing his fibula in a fight against Benson Henderson in August, but he was able to make a statement by ending his four-fight rivalry with Straus in impressive fashion. Pitbull improves to 26-4 in professional MMA with the victory, and is once again the featherweight champion.
Fantasy AnalysisEven without surgery, Pitbull is still facing a 180-day medical suspension from the California State Athletic Commission, so he'll need to be cleared by a doctor if he wants to fight again before late-February of 2016. Pitbull's personal estimate is that he'll need six weeks before being cleared to put weight on his right leg, and roughly three months until the bone is fully healed. Considering Pitbull was in control of Friday's fight before suffering the injury, he should be right back in the Bellator lightweight title mix upon returning. It wouldn't be surprising to see him take on the winner of the scheduled bout between Michael Chandler and Benson Henderson, especially considering talented Bellator lightweights such as Will Brooks and Marcin Held have recently departed for the UFC.
Fantasy AnalysisPitbull was the clear victor in the first round of this bout, and remained in control as the second round approached the midway point. It was then that Pitbull mysteriously turned away from Henderson, withdrawing from the bout due to injury. It appears to be a lower leg issue, but nothing will be known for sure until X-rays are taken. In Henderson's post-fight interview, he suggested that the injury occurred as the result of checked leg kicks, as Pitbull didn't seem like himself after an earlier kick didn't go as planned. It truly was a tough break for Pitbull, as he was well on his way to securing an upset victory when the injury happened.
Fantasy AnalysisPitbull, who underwent nose surgery last month, had been hoping to return by November and he will get his wish. Despite getting rocked by Daniel Weichel in his last fight in June, Pitbull pulled out a miracle and picked up a KO win to retain his title. This will be the third meeting between Freire and Strauss, with Pitbull picking up victories in the first two fights.
Fantasy AnalysisAccording to his camp, Freiere had "basically been breathing only through his mouth for more than a year". The Bellator featherweight champion is coming off a miracle win over Daniel Weichel last month to retain his title. His next challenger is fully expected to be Georgi Karakhanyan, but no date for the bout has been set.
Fantasy AnalysisPitbull should play the lottery tonight. He was rocked by Weichel at the end of Round 1 and if there was even one more second on the clock, referee John McCarthy would have stopped the fight. Freire looked lost in between rounds and he was pinned up against the fence early in the second round, but he somehow managed to land one gigantic left hook that knocked Weichel out cold. It was far from an impressive performance, but as we all know, strange things can happen in the cage. Despite the fact he's small in stature and has a limited reach, Pitbull's massive power is by far his biggest weapon. That, and the clock, helped him pull out a miracle tonight.
Fantasy AnalysisFriere has an impressive professional resume, with his only two losses coming by split decision. He hasn't taken a loss since January of 2013 and is on a six-fight winning streak. If the Brazil native can avoid being submitted by Weichel, he should have the advantage in terms of both striking and grappling. Even though the Shamrock/Slice fight is getting the most attention on the card, this one projects to be one of the best, if not the best, bouts of the evening.