Lightweight Patricky Freire and his brother, Featherweight Patricio Freire, are cornerstones around which Bellator MMA has been built for the last five years. In the "tournament era" the Brazilians were a hard out for anybody in their respective weight classes.
Patricky has twice been a runner up in tournaments, while his brother Patricio is a two-time tournament winner who went on defeat Pat Curran for the Featherweight title, successfully defending it twice since.
That's taking nothing away from Patricky, though, a heavy hitter who like his "Pitbull" brother is known for exciting fights and explosive comebacks. The elder Freire has finished nine of his 13 wins via (technical) knockout, and win or lose he always puts on a good show.
MMAmania.com recently spoke with Freire about his upcoming fight with Saad Awad at Bellator 141 this Friday night (Aug. 28, 2015) in Temecula, Calif., a bout where two of Bellator's premier 155-pound standouts will compete for their place in line to challenge "Ill" Will Brooks.
He's prepared for this fight at an almost insane level.
"I train hard every day - for box(ing), MMA, jiu-jitsu, wrestling, everything."
Freire feels that dedication is necessary against the streaking Awad, winner of three straight in Bellator.
"He's a good fighter, seems to be a good person, we've met a couple of times and shook hands. I don't have anything against him as a person, but he's a guy that's on my way, and a bridge I have to cross to get to the champion Will Brooks."
One of the more surprising statistics about this fight is that Freire only has one win by submission, while Awad has seven; however, in Freire's view, that indicates he's faced a higher caliber of competition.
"Look at the videos of the guys he submit(ted). Most of those guys didn't really have much knowledge of the ground game. Some didn't even know how to regroup their guards, how to stand up to get back to their feet, or how to do anything. If I had gotten those guys as well I would have submitted them."
The other reason that Freire doesn't have more submissions in Bellator is that his opponents get rocked too quickly.
"Honestly, the reason people haven't seen more of my jiu-jitsu (is) because most of the time, I don't really let it get there. When my hands connect the guys go down and the fight is over."
It's a "live by the sword, die by the sword" proposition, though, something Patricky is aware has cost him in the past, along with letting himself think too far ahead when he was on the verge of a title shot.
"This actually happened three times for me. This (last) time with Marcin (Held), everyone was already talking about me fighting for the title. I was already thinking about it (so) I didn't perform or apply myself as I think I should have. In my first tournament everybody was already talking about me fighting Eddie Alvarez and with (Michael) Chandler I was already thinking past him. And then when I had my arm break by Lloyd Woodard, it was a tournament that people said was made for me to win. I was thinking so far ahead I didn't see the obstacle in my way. So right now all of my focus is on the opponents ahead."
Patricky is intent on proving he's learned from the mistakes in the past, and although he won't look past Awad, seeing his brother Patricio win gold shows him what's possible with the right mindset.
"It motivates me a lot, and I always want to know what should a champion do, and how do you become a champion. I've seen that happen right in front of me, I see how it is every single day, and I know what path I have to take in order to get there myself."
In the future we may see brothers simultaneously hold world titles in a major organization, but in the present Patricky Freire will put it all on the line against Saad Awad this Friday night on Spike TV. Audio of our interview with Freire is below and complete Bellator 141 coverage is right here at MMAmania.com.