Bellator champ Patricio Freire aims to reschedule bout vs. PFL champ


Patricio Freire isn’t looking past his opponent at Bellator Champions Series: Belfast, but he hopes to get another opportunity to fight for the PFL vs. Bellator Champions belt soon.

Freire (35-7) was scheduled to face PFL’s season winner Jesus Pinedo at PFL vs. Bellator in February, but like a few other matchups, the fight fell apart in the final days before the event. Freire was given a replacement opponent in Gabriel Braga, but that fight also fell through.

Aside from an opportunity to return to the win column and snap a two-fight skid, Freire really wanted to get his hands on the specially created belt awarded to the winner of the champion vs. champion bouts.

“I really like the idea of the champ vs. champ fight,” Freire told MMA Junkie through an interpreter. “I really enjoy the belt that they designed with the ring attached to it. You can use the ring anywhere or on the belt. So, I really would like a chance to fight for the belt again. I’ve already fought the Rizin champion Kleber (Koike), and I beat him. Now, I have the chance to fight the PFL champion and add that belt and that ring to my collection. So that’s something I would really like to do, if possible, in the future.”

Before that can become a possibility, Freire has to get past Jeremy Kennedy at BCS: Belfast on March 22 in Northern Ireland. Kennedy (19-3) received the call rather than Aaron Pico to fight for “Pitbull’s” Bellator featherweight title. Both men were angling for a title shot, but for Freire, it didn’t matter which fighter would share the cage with him as he had kept his eye on both.

“(Kennedy) was a guy that was already on my radar,” Freire said. “Pico had just fought in Saudi Arabia. They had a fight, but they wouldn’t have time for a rematch to see who would fight me. So Bellator offered me this opportunity so I took it. This is a guy that I was seeing for a long time for a possible opponent for my belt.”

With Freire’s recent back-to-back losses, fans have begun wondering if the best version of “Pitbull” is gone. The 36-year-old has much to prove against Kennedy, but welcomes all of the negative energy because it gives him fuel to succeed and prove those doubters wrong.

“We’ll never be able to please everyone, and there will always be some hate,” Freire said. “In fact, those are the guys that keep us motivated. So, if they want to keep doubting me, please continue doing that.”

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