Bellator 203: “Pitbull vs Weichel 2” comes to Foro Italico in Rome, Italy, this Saturday evening (July 14, 2018), featuring a main event between Featherweight champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (26-4) taking on Daniel Weichel (39-9) for a second time.
The first meeting between the two has become a pivotal moment in Bellator MMA’s history. Filling in for an injured Georgi Karakhanyan, Weichel had Freire dead to rights at the end of round one before the champion was saved by the bell. But then, just 32 seconds later, Freire came roaring back with a knockout for the win. Since that time, Weichel has gone on a four-fight win streak to earn a second chance, while Freire went on to lose the belt for a short time only to regain the title from Daniel Straus in an epic fourth encounter between the two last year.
MMAmania.com recently spoke with “Pitbull” about his first title defense since regaining the gold, but he wasted little time making it clear he would rather face an opponent not-named Weichel.
“I’m not happy about it. I beat him already. It was a competitive fight, he had his moments, but unfortunately for him the time was almost up (in round one) and I capitalized in 32 seconds of the second round. So I think I didn’t leave any doubt about who was the better fighter then. The weight class has some real names, (but) it needs a fresh start and some new fights. People are tired to see me beat up the same people over and over, they want to see me beating up other guys. So ... it’s not the fight I’m most excited about in the world, but I’m looking forward to finishing this once and for all then going ahead and facing new challenges.”
The frankness of the answer may be surprising to some, but “Pitbull” never pulls punches — figuratively or literally — and didn’t when I asked if Weichel’s win streak earned him another chance.
“He won (the fights), but he didn’t convince me. I was looking at his fight against Emmanuel Sanchez the other day, and I scored it for Sanchez. I have seen his fight against ‘Macapa’ Teixeira several times, and I scored all the rounds for Macapa. So if I’m not mistaken both of those fights he won by split decision. So he shouldn’t have won two of those fights. He’s a tough fighter. He gave me one of the most brutal knockdowns in my career. I only took three knockdowns in my career and one of them was him. So I know he’s a tough fighter that I have to face, but he doesn’t convince me that he’s a deserving challenger.”
He’s not wrong about the split decisions. Both Bellator 159 and Bellator 177 featured fights that could have gone either way, but ultimately went to Weichel. I asked “Pitbull” if he had seen any changes in Weichel since the last time they fought. Freire answered directly without his translator.
“I don’t know if he improves himself, but what I saw in his fights, he is the same guy. I don’t know. Maybe he improves, but I didn’t see that.”
Now we have a dilemma. The champion has just branded his challenger as a stale fighter who is undeserving of his world title shot. So who in Freire’s estimation would be worthy to fight him?
“I believe my next opponent is going to be Emmanuel Sanchez. He beat Straus, he then beat Sam Sicilia, he’s coming from a good number of wins, so I believe he deserves the next title shot.”
In fact, Sanchez has the same number of wins in a row as Weichel, and arguably had his most impressive win to date at Bellator 198. Until that fight is made, though, Freire will headline in Rome. Bellator has been to Italy several times but this is its first stop in the capital city.
“I’m very excited because Rome is like a birthplace of the gladiators, of the warriors of old. So to me it’s going to be a good thing. I believe I’m going to have a good feeling being there.”
With the recent news of Bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell going up in weight to face Noad Lahat at Bellator 204, I asked Freire if he considers Caldwell a future title contender.
Once again, “Pitbull” did not mince words in his assessment of a fellow Bellator fighter.
“Darrion Caldwell is a tough fighter, he beat one of my teammates in the first round his last fight. I know what he brings to the table but I think he’s a pussy. When he wrestled I believe he wrestled at 155 or above that. Now he’s fighting Bantamweights, guys much smaller than him, because he can fight at his size at Welterweight. But, he keeps with this pussy behavior, this coward behavior, hiding on his size. So if he decided to come up to Featherweight and come and meet me, I’ll be happy to welcome him with a few bullets.”
Let’s just assume he meant that last part metaphorically as a comparison to his knockout power. Either way, Freire is deep into his preparations for the Weichel fight despite his birthday last week. Indeed, “Pitbull” didn’t take any time off.
“The birthday? I don’t care about that. I enjoy my life as an athlete.”
If you’re looking for an exciting main event this weekend at Foro Italico in Rome, Italy, then you’ll be happy to know that it’s all that Patricio “Pitbull” Freire cares about right now. In fact, he’s made the fans a knockout promise for this show.
“It’s fair to say and it’s going to happen. Get ready to see the most violent man in the world in action.”
Complete audio of our interview is embedded above, and complete coverage of “Pitbull vs. Weichel 2” resides here at MMAmania.com all week long.
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