Bellator Newcastle: “Pitbull vs. Scope” airs tomorrow afternoon (Sat., Feb. 9, 2019) from Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle upon Tyne, England via Bellator.com. The main event will see a ferocious battle between two Lightweight contenders gunning for a shot at the crown Michael Chandler wears once again.
Let’s break it down:
155 lbs.: Patricky “Pitbull” Freire (20-8) vs. Ryan Scope (10-1)
When you make a list of the most feared fighters in Bellator’s Lightweight division, Patricky Freire’s name should be at or near the top. Thirteen of 20 wins (65 percent) have come via knockout, or looked at another way, he’s finished one out of every two opponents he has faced to date. A winning percentage that high in mixed martial arts (MMA) can only mean one thing — prodigious punching power. After his last highlight-reel finish he called out Brent Primus, but one can only assume he’d call out Chandler if he scores another big win in Newcastle.
The Sunderland Fight Pit prospect unapologetically called “Big Baby” would love to be a road block to Freire’s title shot. Ryan Scope started out his career with three straight rear naked choke wins, then showed off the power of his own hands by finishing four of his next six opponents. Unfortunately it’s hard to get a read on whether or not Scope could be a flash in the pan due to long periods of inactivity — two years off from 2014-2016 and only two fights from 2017 to the present day. He also took his first professional loss via (ironically) a rear naked choke to unheralded fighter Lewis Long (16-5), who also has a date on this card with “Judo” Jim Wallhead.
Fighting at home will certainly motivate Scope to be at his best against Freire, and he may have a small physical advantage at 5’10” to Freire’s 5’7” (Scope’s reach has not been disclosed before press time). Advantages on paper tend to diminish when you fight a “Pitbull” though, which is what makes Patricio and Patricky’s nickname so apt. They are relentlessly determined in every bout and always turn in a performance bigger than they are. While the younger Patricio has had more frequent and more lasting success at the highest levels, one can only assume Patricky could finally earn his shot too in this fight.
Final prediction: Patricky Freire wins via second round technical knockout
155 lbs.: Aaron Chalmers (4-0) vs. Corey Browning (3-1)
If you remember the name Aaron Chalmers it’s because we’ve covered the reality show star turned-professional fighter before. After making quick work of a sub-par opponent at Bellator 200, it’s now time to Chalmers to step up and face some stiffer competition to prove he really belongs in the big leagues. I’m not sure Corey Browning is that man, though. Let’s all be honest that Browning was brought in to be fed to “Baby Slice” at Bellator 207 yet Browning turned the tables and submitted him when he gassed out. That win earned him this return fight yet I can’t imagine they’re flying him in from Tennessee just to do the same thing to another up-and-comer they are trying to make into a star.
Final prediction: Aaron Chalmers wins via first round knockout
185 lbs.: Fabian Edwards (5-0) vs. Lee Chadwick (24-13-1)
In what is sure to be a crowd pleasing affair for Newcastle attendees, local stars Fabian Edwards (hailing from Birmingham) and Lee Chadwick (hailing from Liverpool) will put on a show at Middleweight. Chadwick owns an obvious experience advantage and comes in with a three fight win streak that includes two submissions. He’s also the elder fighter at 33, which may tip a small edge to the undefeated Edwards, young and hungry at only 25 years old. Although he hasn’t gotten as much press for it as Tywan Claxton did, Edwards also won his Bellator debut via flying knee, and has diversified his attack with two knockouts and two submissions since. Call it a hunch but I think Chadwick will get more than he bargained for. He has been submitted five times and to me that’s his Achilles heel.
Final prediction: Fabian Edwards taps out Lee Chadwick with a first round rear-naked choke
155 lbs.: Terry Brazier (10-1) vs. Chris Bungard (11-4)
This is another bout for the local boys to shine with Brazier hailing from London and Bungard hailing from Coatbridge, Scotland. Bungard’s record seems more shaky from the word go. Although he’s won four of his last five, he lost to “Freakshow” Colin Fletcher in that span, who I find to be a very middling Lightweight who losses to almost every decent man he faces — Norman Parke, Mike Ricci, Andre Winner, Alex Lohore, et cetera. Fletcher is your basic “gatekeeper” fighter and if Bungard couldn’t even beat him that’s troubling. Meanwhile Brazier has racked up nine straight wins dating back to 2015 and has a very well rounded game with four knockouts, two submissions and four decisions. Do I really need to say anything else?
Final prediction: “The Dominator” Terry Brazier finishes Chris Bungard in round one
That’s a wrap!
MMAmania.com will deliver coverage of Bellator “Newcastle” tomorrow with a main card start time of 5 p.m. ET on Bellator.com (“Prelims” undercard begins at 3 p.m. ET). To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.