Connect with us

Bellator

Exclusive Interview with Patricio “Pitbull” Freire

Published

on

When talking about the featherweight division, the names that come up the most always seem to be Aldo and McGregor, and with good reason. However, there is a fighter who absolutely belongs in the same breath as those 2 names, and his name is Patricio “Pitbull” Freire. At only 28 years old, the Bellator featherweight champion is 24-2 with both of his losses being controversial split decisions. Currently on a 7 fight win streak with 5 finishes in that span, the champion will defend his belt for the 3rd time at Bellator 145 on November 6th. I got the opportunity to speak to him regarding his upcoming fight, as well as his opinion on fighter rankings, his feud with Georgi Karakhanyan and his potential future in MMA.

The first thing that “Pitbull” says in our interview shows just how focused he is going into this fight, a simple “How are you doing today?” was answered with, “I’m good, I’m strong, a strategy has been set and I hope it works.”

The champion has been critical of the media in the past, saying that the MMA media has a bias towards fighters that fight in the UFC and doesn’t give the same respect to fighters such as himself strictly due to the organization they fight for. I asked if he thought the media has improved since his last comments and he didn’t hold back on his opinion, although his outlook on it seems to have changed slightly.

“It doesn’t matter what you do outside the UFC, people will never rank you first. You will never be the best if you’re not in the UFC. I think some of them are even paid by the UFC, so the rankings stopped mattering to me. I’m focusing on myself, my career and important stuff. I know I’m the best and I don’t need rankings to know who I am. Rankings don’t pay my bills.”

This will be Freire’s 3rd title defense, but it will also be his 3rd fight with challenger Daniel Straus, who the champion has beaten in both of their previous meetings, including a win by rear naked choke in the 4th round of their last fight (Freire’s first title defense) in January of this year. When asked what he expected from fight number 3 he said:

“The 1st fight I dominated him, I didn’t have many problems dictating the action. The 2nd fight was pretty close, he really wanted the title and had improved a lot in his striking. But I was hit by some illegal strikes, I don’t think he really meant it but it affected me and messed up my plan and caused some injuries. I was able to overcome that and get the win. I hope that this time he comes to fight clean and if he does that then I’m confident I will be able to do my job well and return with my title.”

The champion’s 2nd title defense in June was originally supposed to come against Georgi Karakhanyan but Karakhanyan tore his ACL and was replaced by Daniel Weichel who Freire knocked out in the 2nd round. Freire and Karakhanyan have gone back and forth on social media and video emerged of a heated confrontation between the two at a poster signing at Bellator 141. Karakhanyan is currently scheduled to fight Daniel Weichel in December. When I asked “Pitbull” about that potential fight, he brushed it off by saying,

“My focus is entirely on Straus, he (Karakhanyan) has a fight coming up and we have no idea what might happen but my focus is entirely on Straus and defending my title.”

Finally I asked about his long-term future in MMA, at only 28 years old he seemingly has a good amount of time left in the game. I asked if he saw himself staying at featherweight or the potential of moving up or down in weight class. I also asked if he would ever consider fighting his brother, Bellator lightweight Patricky Friere, if the opportunity presented itself. The champion seemed to have a very practical view on both matters when he said,

“I’ve said a few times already that weight class doesn’t matter to me, I’m a real fighter and I’m here for the challenge, it doesn’t matter what the other guy weighs. I’m up to anything. Regarding fighting my brother, I don’t see why not, I would fight him. We do it every day for free ever since we were kids so why not do it for a huge sum of money?”

It would appear that the champion is focused and determined heading into his 3rd title defense. He’s very familiar with his opponent and obviously has a strategy in mind that he wants to implement. He says that he no longer cares about what the rankings say, but I can’t help but think that he’s fighting with a chip on his shoulder and is planning to use this match up to prove exactly why he deserves every bit as much respect as any fighter in the world. Be sure to tune-in to Bellator 145 on November 6th to watch one of the baddest men on the planet defend his title.

Onnit Primal Bells

Bellator

Saad Awad talks Zach Freeman, kickboxing, 165 lb division and more ahead of Bellator 186

Published

on

Long-time Bellator veteran Saad Awad takes on Zach “the Pico slayer” Freeman at Bellator 186. Awad is currently coming off of a unanimous decision win over Ryan Quinn back at Bellator 178. Awad looks to beat top prospect Freeman in an attempt to go on a two-fight winning streak, in a stacked lightweight division.

Speaking with MMA Latest, Awad let it known he believes Freeman has the better ground game. “I think he’s a solid fighter, pretty durable, obviously better on the ground, so I know I just have to be sharp, and be precise with my striking, and get ready for a good ground game.”

Freeman made his name by beating Bellator’s hyped prospect Aaron Pico back in June, Awad had the chance to give his thoughts on the fight. “I thought it was good, I thought it was a fast win, but he didn’t shy away from it, he didn’t let Pico come in and impose his will, he struck back when he needed to, and dropped him, and got a nice submission.”

With every win helping fighters get closer to a title shot, it’s unclear whether or not Awad is close to a title shot, but he hasn’t given up hope. “I’ve been with Bellator since 2012, I think, or 2013 and I haven’t got a title fight yet so I don’t know man. To be honest, it’s on Bellator and on me to go out there and preform. So I need to win as many fights as I can, so I can go out there and win it.”

For a long time, Awad has been known mostly as the man who knocked out former Bellator champion Will Brooks. Awad believes he’s moved past that fight and more importantly, has moved on from that title. “Definitely at the time I was that guy and I feel like Zach Freeman is that guy for Pico because Pico was pumped up, obviously more than normal. I had that title for a while, but Will Brooks did go off and win a title right after he lost to me, so he had his name buzzing for a while. I definitely think I’ve moved on from that and I’ve beaten some really good guys after that, and I’ve had some really good wars since that fight. I’ll never let one fight dictate who I am and I’m glad I’ve moved past that”

Awad comes into the fight back in the win column and up against an up and coming opponent, Awad details the amount of pressure he’s on. “You know what I always put pressure on myself. Whether I’m winning or losing, because at the end of the day you want to win, whether you’re coming off of a loss or you’re coming off a win. If you lose, you lose, and that’s it, you lost, so there’s always expectation with me and yeah if this time I lose, I could possibly get cut if I lose this one, because I just won my last one and I’m not trying to have a win one, lose, win one, lose one. So there’s still that pressure to perform, especially being that Zach has only one fight in Bellator and I’m probably ten fights in. So I do have some pressure behind me.”

Awad was unable to watch the Henderson-Pitbull fight, lucky, but he did have a theory on why it went the way it did. “You know what I didn’t even watch it, normally I watch all the lightweights but I missed that fight. I read it online, people were complaining saying they both weren’t doing as much, but I understand why Henderson probably wasn’t doing as much, because Patricky hits pretty hard and usually when someone hits pretty hard, you don’t want to go out there with that person and mix it up, because you don’t want to get knocked out. I don’t know if that’s exactly what happened, but I know it could’ve happened. So I take nothing from them because they’re both really good fighters and he won a split decsion so it was obviously close enough for them to go to a split decision.”

Awad also spoke about whether he preferred lightweight or welterweight, and why Bellator should consider a 165-pound weight class. “Honestly man I hate cutting weight. I hate cutting weight but I feel like I’m one of those guys that like if there’s a 165-pound weight class, that would fit me the best. I’m a huge lightweight but I’m a small welterweight, not small but I don’t cut that much weight like my normal walk around weight is probably 165 so you know I’m not the biggest welterweight so I prefer 165 if they added that weight class. If Bellator gets that weight I’d probably be one of the first in line to fight for it.”

With Bellator’s recent splurge on free agents and former UFC fighter’s, Awad believes it’s only helped make Bellator stronger. “I think its cool. No matter where they come from at the end of the day we’re fighters and whether we get cut or we opt to get out of our contracts, it’s because we want to make money, we want to get paid as much as we can, and sometimes we feel like we’re not respected and, were not getting paid what we think we’re worth. So sometimes you have to get out of a contract whether it’s with the UFC, ONE FC or Titan wherever the hell they’re at, or Bellator even. They leave because they want to get paid more. Even if they lost a couple fights, guys can have bad nights and they lose a couple and get cut. It doesn’t mean the guys suck. They could have had something going on or they just have bad match-ups and those guys could be still just as good and dangerous as they were when they first started. So I think nothing of them, I don’t look down on any of the fighters that come here, whether they were cut or opted to get out. At the end of the day, they’re still fighters so there’s respect for their abilities.”

Awad has also been training with Duane Ludwig ahead of this fight. “You know what Duane used to train with my coaches back in the day, I think back in ‘99, 2000 and so they have a really good relationship. He was out in Colorado and we had some teammates that would train with him. Now he’s back out here in Cali, so now we have some teammates going out and mixing it up with them. I’ve only met him once but the dude brings a different aspect to training and for me training with them I would definitely like to train with him more because, like I said, it opened up a whole new book in the chapter of training. I’ll definitely look forward to learning his style of standup because I think it would be good. I’m a big fan of Muay Thai, kickboxing, and boxing, and that’s how I’m going to end being the best I can possibly be, so I think that can add a lot to my arsenal.”

Speaking of kickboxing, Awad has also shown interest in participating on Bellator’s kickboxing cards. “You know what I did ask them, it kind of got shunned away because they’re keeping me busy with MMA. If they cant keep me busy next year I’ll definitely ask them to put me on one of those cards.”

Saad Awad takes on Zach Freeman on November 3rd, at Bellator 186. MMA Latest would like to thank Saad for taking time out of his busy schedule to speak with us.

Onnit Primal Bells
Continue Reading

Announcement

Watch: Bellator 185 Prelims

Published

on

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Complete Bellator 185: Mousasi vs. Shlemenko Fight Card:

Middleweight Main Event: Gegard Mousasi (42-6-2) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (56-9, 1 NC)

Welterweight Feature Bout: Neiman Gracie (6-0) vs. Zak Bucia (18-8)

Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Heather Hardy (1-0) vs. Kristina Williams (Debut)

Lightweight Feature Bout: Ryan Quinn (13-7) vs. Marcus Surin (4-0)

Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Ana Julaton (2-2) vs. Lisa Blaine (1-0)

Preliminary Card:

Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Jordan Young (6-0) vs. Alec Hooben (5-3)

Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Costello van Steenis (8-1) vs. Steve Skrzat (8-9)

Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Vinicius de Jesus (5-1) vs. Joaquin Buckley (7-1)

Lightweight Preliminary Bout: John Beneduce (2-1) vs. Dean Hancock (2-1)

Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Timothy Wheeler (1-4) vs. Pete Rogers (2-4)

150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Don Shainis (3-1) vs. Matthew Denning (5-6)

150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Frank Sforza (6-0) vs. Vovka Clay (3-2)

Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Kevin Carrier (Pro Debut) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (Pro Debut)

Flyweight Preliminary Bout: John Lopez

Onnit Primal Bells
Continue Reading

Announcement

*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

Published

on

Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

Onnit Primal Bells
Continue Reading

Trending