Patricio ‘Pitbull’ deems Bellator 255 ‘just the beginning’ of an even more dominant reign

Nolan King
·3 min read

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Patricio Freire has been with Bellator for more than a decade, but the promotion’s lightweight and featherweight champion thinks it’s only the beginning.

“Pitbull,” who was recently voted the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the promotion, headlines Bellator 255 on Friday against Emmanuel Sanchez.

Although the respect he thinks he deserves is being generated, there’s the potential for even more gain. In fact, Freire (31-4 MMA, 19-4 BMMA) is viewing his Bellator featherweight grand prix semifinal as the start of an even bigger and better chapter in his career.

“It’s great to be recognized, first by the company and soon the public,” Freire told MMA Junkie through an interpreter on Wednesday. “… For me, this is only the beginning. I’ve had this programmed since I started in this MMA game. I’m here to break all the records. This is just the beginning for Patricio ‘Pitbull.'”

Freire, 33, has a stiff test in front of him as he faces Sanchez (20-4 MMA, 12-3 BMMA) for the second time. The two featherweights squared off at Bellator 209 in November 2018, with Freire winning a unanimous decision. The fight was back-and-forth and action-packed and earned high praise from promotion president Scott Coker.

“This guy puts more pressure than anybody I’ve ever felt,” Freire said. “He puts a lot of pressure on this game. He’s a warrior and he always brings the war. It’s not a diss on him. This guy comes to fight and I have not underestimated him.”

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Should he get through Sanchez, Freire will face off with A.J. McKee, who has already advanced to the grand prix final. Freire and McKee (17-0 MMA, 17-0 BMMA) have long exchanged words through social media and interviews. Knowing that a grudge match awaits him on the other side makes Freire even more eager to secure his place in the finals of the 16-man tournament.

“It’s always great to beat someone that’s undefeated, a guy who is in the finals in A.J. McKee,” Freire said. “However, this is my division, my belt, my grand prix, my million dollars, my legend. The only thing he’s missing as an undefeated fighter is a defeat. I’m going to be the one to give it to him. Everyone will know once I beat him, I’m the best fighter in the world.”

In order to get to McKee, Freire needs to take care of business on Friday. If you enjoy action-packed fights, Freire says his rematch vs. Sanchez will deliver the goods.

“If you guys like violence, stay tuned because this will be one of the most violent wars of the year,” Freire said.

Bellator 255 takes place Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The entire card streams on MMA Junkie.

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