UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Patricky Freire’s co-feature bout against Jaleel Willis at Bellator 249 on Thursday could have major implications for the promotion’s lightweight division.
Though Freire (23-9 MMA, 14-7 BMMA) lost his most recent fight, that was in Rizin, and Freire has won each of his last six Bellator bouts heading into the bout with Willis (13-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA).
Should “Pitbull” win, though, there’s another problem: His brother, Patricio, holds the lightweight championship, along with his featherweight gold.
But Freire told MMA Junkie on Tuesday he thinks there’s a distinct possibility his brother could relinquish the 155-pound title if it means Patricky would get a crack at the crown.
“He might want to change the belt for me, let me fight for the belt, so I’m ready for Bellator to say something, do something,” the Brazilian competitor said. “I’m ready for the belt for a long time. I stay here in Bellator, (working) for like 10 years. I have more opportunities to fight for the belt and like 12 days before the fight is no good camp to train, but it’s no excuse. I just want to train like a champ, have good time to train to fight for the belt, and win the belt because I wait for a long time.”
Freire had been scheduled to face rising star Peter Queally, a bout which was wiped out when the pandemic hit. He admits it’s a fight he still wants, but he needs to focus on what’s in front of him.
“Yes I’m very excited to fight with him, because I know that I’d beat him easy in front of the Irish, his house. I just can say for him good career, and I wait for him to beat him in front of his fans and family. But now I need to work another fighter, and I prepare for this. I prepare to be back in my house and do my job like I do it before.”
And that means Freire now has his sights set on Willis, who doesn’t have Queally’s name recognition. Freire’s not worried about that, and man with the most knockouts in Bellator lightweight history (nine) hinted another one might be on the way.
“Yeah, he’s a big guy like Peter Queally,” Freire said. “Don’t chase the height, but they start very different. Peter Queally moves more very well, and my new opponent likes to stay to takedown. He likes to kick so much like Peter Queally; it’s the same game. But he doesn’t have very good box. And jiu-jitsu, I don’t knew if he has good jiu-jitsu, but I will try to take him down, beat him, kick him, kick his ass. I don’t know, don’t care. I’m the king of KOs in Bellator. I’ll do this again.”
Bellator 249 takes place Thursday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The main card airs on CBS Sports Network following prelims on MMA Junkie.