Patricio Pitbull predicts Emmanuel Sanchez will be ‘very disappointed’ at Bellator 255.
When Patricio “Pitbull” Freire steps into the cage he usually wins. He hasn’t lost a fight since 2016 when he suffered a gruesome leg injury against former UFC champion, Benson Henderson. Since then he’s gone on a six-fight tear … all title fights. Now, as he’s set to defend his title once again, he’s confident he’ll retain, no matter the opponent.
In comes Emmanuel Sanchez, who predicted he’d finish the champion within three rounds. A prediction that Freire responded to on Wednesday.
“I predict that he’ll be very disappointed and he’ll be the one getting finished,” Freire told FanSided.
This is the second time the pair have matched. The first bout going five full rounds with Freire retaining his title. One thing they both agree on is that fans aren’t going to see another long back-and-forth, someone is getting finished on April 2.
“It’ll be different from the first one,” Freire said. “This time I’m gonna finish him. He’s been talking a lot since we thought about how I was unable to do that and other stuff. He seems like a good person, but as a fighter, he’s talking a little too much. So I’m gonna give him what he wants and win by finish this time. He remains the same fighter as when we first fought.”
Should Freire defend, he’ll be slated to face AJ McKee in the finals of the Featherweight Grand Prix but fans seem focused on this bout as an honorary final round, despite it being a semi-final matchup.
“People were saying that before my fight with [Juan] Archuleta too,” Freire said. “It just shows I’m facing a high level of competition. I’m hearing a lot of things about a final fight against AJ McKee. But first things first. I know Sanchez is a tough fighter and I’m not overlooking him.”
Though he isn’t overlooking Sanchez, as champion, he pays close attention to all of the featherweight fights happening at any given time.
“I focus on the task ahead of me, but at the same time, I watch every single fight of guys on my division because I know they could be facing me down the line. So I have a general idea of how I match up with all of these guys. I don’t think AJ will even be able to touch me.”
Patricio Pitbull on Showtime deal, new rankings and COVID-19
This tournament should have been over, if not for the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing Freire to slow down his plans of being a three-division champion.
“There’s the pros and the cons in everything, but professionally, it hurt my plans quite a bit,” he said. “I was hoping to have had a lightweight title defense already and have fought for the bantamweight title to become a three-division champion. But with the tournament yet to complete and everything else involved, I think the timing to go for the bantamweight title isn’t there anymore.”
Heading into 2021, Bellator announced a few exciting changes, including a new broadcasting deal with Showtime.
“It shows Bellator has a lot of expectation of this fight delivering and they recognize my star power,” he said of being the first main event to air on the network. “When we were on Spike and Paramount, my ratings were all well above average and I think with Showtime’s backing it’ll be even better. I’m looking forward to it.”
Another announcement was the decision to have MMA media rank fighters going forward.
“I like it, as long as it’s consistent and fair,” he said. “There are a bunch of rankings out there that aren’t worth anything. I hope the people who are in charge of doing the rankings are unbiased and have proper knowledge of the fighters in the organization. Rankings can give fighters a more clear path to a title fight, so it has to be done right.”
With just weeks left before Freire and Sanchez meets the champion leaves off with just one message to his challenger.
“Be careful what you wish for.”
Freire vs. Sanchez will take place on April 2, 2021, when Bellator returns for their first event on Showtime. The card will also feature Usman Nurmagomedov vs. Mike Hamel in the co-main event. Follow along with FanSided MMA for all your live Bellator news and results.