Patrício ‘Pitbull’ Freire will meet Benson Henderson in the main event at Bellator 160 on Friday, August 26th at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The co-main event will be a rematch between Georgi Karakhanyan and Bubba Jenkins, with supporting acts like Chinzo Machida and A.J McKee also appearing on the card. The former Bellator featherweight champion spoke with MMA Latest about Benson’s ability, his altercation with Michael Chandler and his thoughts on WSOF’s recent brother-vs-brother match-up.
When you first saw this fight announcement you could be forgiven for thinking it was Patricky Freire, not Patrício, who would be facing Benson Henderson at lightweight, though it is actually the career-featherweight who will be making his first foray up into Bellator’s 155-pound division.
In Henderson he’ll be facing a former UFC lightweight champion who has recently been competing at welterweight, where he most recently lose a unanimous decision to Bellator welterweight champion Andrey Koreshkov, though ‘Pitbull’ didn’t seem to have any concerns about the fact that these two were competing for two divisions apart as recently as April.
“Henderson fought at welterweight but he was still a lightweight. I’ve fought and sparred guys at higher weights my whole career so it’s not something I’m worried about. I want to challenge myself, every fighter should be looking to test themselves against the biggest challenge possible. When I close my eyes and visualise the fight I see me hitting him, him falling, and me winning by knockout.”
The former Bellator featherweight champion did not seem to have any plans of hanging around at lightweight either.
“I don’t think I’ll be at lightweight for very long, I’m going to beat Benson Henderson, rip off Michael Chandler’s head, throw that belt in the trash and then drop down to featherweight to beat up Daniel Straus and never let anyone touch that belt again.”
Patrício and Michael Chandler got into a public altercation back in June following Chandler’s first-round knockout win over Patrício’s brother, Patricky as he became the Bellator lightweight champion. The two exchanged words and gestures between the top of the fence and the crowd, and it’s clear that’s a fight ‘Pitbull’ wants.
“I always wanted to fight Michael Chandler. I told him normally that I wanted to fight him and he said “I will kill you,” so I said “No, I’ll kill you.” That’s pretty much what happened there, I didn’t take that personally- it was just a fighter challenging another fighter. Later that night at the press conference he talked about my family, he made it personal. If you talk about my father, talk about my mother, talk about my brother… I’m just not going to let you run your mouth like that. So now I want to go in there and rip his head off.”
Chandler recently tweeted that he “couldn’t wait to see these two [Henderson and Freire] duke it out for a chance to get knocked out.” Freire’s tweet in response was brief, “Attention, whore alert.”
“He’s an attention whore. People are talking about my fight with Benson Henderson and he’s trying to make it about himself. Shut the fuck up, no one wants to know about you, people are talking about Patrício Pitbull and Benson Henderson. Stay in your lane, you’ll get your time.”
At the end of our conversation I quickly asked ‘Pitbull,’ as a man with a brother who also competes in MMA, what he thought of the recent controversial matchmaking at WSOF, where Ben Fodor was pitted against adopted brother Caros Fodor in a bout that seemed to challenge Ben emotionally in the event build-up as well as post-fight.
“Me and my brother have talked about fighting each other but I don’t think it would ever happen. It would have to make a lot of sense for both of us, never for a little promotion for no money, meaning nothing. These guys were fighting each other for no reason, with no belts on the line or anything. It’s a sick joke, a shame you know.”
Freire seems fired-up. If he can get the win on Friday night it could map out his next two or three bouts. There’s just the small matter of defeating one of MMA’s most successful lightweights in history to deal with first.
Patrício Freire faces Benson Henderson at Bellator 160, Friday, August 26th
For the latest MMA news, live event coverage and more follow @mmalatestnws on Twitter.
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Exclusive: Jalin Turner vs Noah Tillis set for Bellator LA in January
Bellator LA: Douglas Lima vs Rory MacDonald, has just had another entertaining fight added as two talented prospects Jalin Turner and Noah Tillis are set to meet in a lightweight bout. Sources close to the fight confirmed the news to MMA Latest earlier this morning.
Jalin “The Tarantula” Turner makes his return to the Bellator cage for the first time since January 2017, where he defeated Gabriel Green by knockout, in an exciting fight that only lasted 36 seconds. Since the fight, Turner has gone 2-1 where he defeated Paradise Vaovasa by KO, at Tachi PF 31, before dropping his next fight to Richard LeRoy by TKO, at CFX 8. Turner bounced back from the loss by beating Vytautas Sadauskas by submission, at KOTC: Never Quit, back in September.
Noah Tillis is currently coming off of a 9-second submission victory against Jeff Carson, at Gladiator Challenge: American Pride, back in July. The “Submission Magician” has amassed a professional record of 3-2 with three victories coming by submission, DQ, and a TKO due to injury. His two losses coming by way of TKO and decision.
It is unclear where the fight will be featured, but it is assumed it will take place on the undercard. The potential brawl represents a stiff challenge for either man, as well as an opportunity to make some noise in an always deep lightweight division.
The only other fight currently announced on the card is the main event between current Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima and former UFC title challenger, Rory MacDonald. Bellator LA: Lima vs MacDonald is set to take place on Saturday, January 20th, in Los Angeles, Calfornia, at the Forum.
Anthony “PrettyBoy” Taylor wants to knockout Trey Branch then fight Brian Moore in Bellator on St. Patricks Day
Going from postlim fights in Bellator to a co-main event and then a main card fight after with such little professional experience isn’t something you’d hear of very often in the slightest. In this case Anthony “PrettyBoy” Taylor is the exception, who in only his third professional fight went to Ireland as part of the co-main event for a fight with James Gallagher. Taylor became well known to many in the build-up to that fight for being so outspoken and quite an entertainer, something he carries with him to the cage.
Anthony Taylor now has himself a fight lined up in a regional show near his home in California at California Fighting Championships. This will be his first time fighting back in America since May 2016. His last two bouts were in Europe as part of Bellator’s expansion into Europe. Following two losses he now hopes to get back in the win column in front of a home crowd. Taking this fight as a tune off fight Anthony is confident he won’t be touched by his opponent Trey Branch.
“Well, I’m taking this fight because Bellator said I’ll be fighting next year for overseas and it will be a good tune off fight for me. I think of trey like any other fighter. Just a guy who’s not going to touch me nor beat me.”
His opponent Trey Branch is jumping up from flyweight for this fight, Anthony believes he’s going to dominate his opponent and knock him out with ease. Now having 3 career losses coming via submission, he is not worried about his ground game, guaranteeing it was improved from training with some of the top fighters in Bellator.
“I believe I’m going to overpower him and KO him. He’s coming up from 125lb to fight me which I stated to the world on Bellator that I’m the strongest 45er in the world!! And as far as my ground game, it’d be covered and it’s great. Thanks to AJ McKee, Baby Slice, Joey Davis and Aaron Pico. My ground game is great and up there to the level, as there’s”
Looking ahead to next year when he competes in Bellator again, Taylor has his eyes set on a big fight in a return to Irish soil.
“Well Bellator loves me and I proved them that I belong there. I haven’t been told when I was fighting but I hope it’s back in Ireland, and maybe on St. Patricks day and hopefully I’ll fight Brian Moore because me and him been wanting to fight the longest.”
As a training partner for AJ McKee, Taylor was very pleased with how the fight went down, claiming it was a simple enough fight for his teammate that apparently didn’t train much for the fight. Suffering a loss on the initial trip to the emerald isle, “PrettyBoy” wants to come back and take home a win next time around.
“Oh man it was an easy fight for AJ, he only trained 2 weeks for that Brian Moore fight” he laughs “but absolutely it would be a great show if I was also on the show me and James alone still holds the record of views internationally and I’m looking to come back and taking what’s mines which is that W”
The win against Brian Moore could now potentially line up a fight between McKee and James Gallagher, fight fans have long sought after. Having fought against James and training with McKee on the regular Taylor isn’t convinced that Gallagher is ready for the AJ just yet. He also had some words about SBG fighters who were calling out Baby Slice.
“James is not ready for AJ. And people calling out slice since he’s new in the game. Why are sbg guys not calling out Joey Davis?? They are all talk and think that they’re better than everyone.”
With a win on Saturday, Anthony Taylor thinks it will kick him off to a series of consecutive wins that could ultimately land him in a fight with Emmanuel Sanchez.
“Yes it will start off (Saturday) and I believe it will set me up tremendously. I’m only getting better and I plan on winning fights in Bellator and then taking out Emanuel Sanchez. I do not like him, I hate him”
“I don’t like his style and he’s always hating on my teammates so I want his head” he added
Away from the fight scene, Anthony is pleased with the life that he’s got set up for himself with his newfound love since joining Bellator as he now aims to break into the movie industry too.
“Man it’s been great I now have a wonderful woman in my life so I’m happy. I’m acting too, trying to get into the movies industry and God has blessed me which so much love”
You can follow Anthony Taylor on all his social media accounts to keep an eye out for all his upcoming fight information and results.
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