Bellator 252 “Pitbull vs. Carvalho” took place Thursday, November 12, 2020 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The main event saw “Pitbull” Patricio Freire (30-4) put his Featherweight title up for grabs against challenger Pedro Carvalho (11-3).
IT'S FIGHT DAY!— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) November 12, 2020
The belt is on the line, and four featherweights fight to be one step closer to $1,000,000!
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Freire was content to let Carvalho “bring the fight” to him as he predicted beforehand, and that strategy paid dividends. Carvalho was constantly out of position as Freire landed hard counter shots. Each time he connected cleanly, Carvalho’s legs would buckle and his body would stiffen up. He gamely kept trying to press the action, hoping he could use a 5” reach advantage to hurt Freire. It backfired spectacularly, as Freire finally hurt him badly enough on two consecutive knockdowns that Mike Beltran stepped in to save him at 2:10.
Freire hugged his opponent and then spoke to “Big” John McCarthy after successfully retaining his Featherweight title via first round knockout.
“It’s always possible. Get the right on the chin and keep him standing. I knew that. Sanchez is tough, I expect that, now he’s more dynamic and I like his style. I can’t wait to fight him again. The time off was too many months waiting for just one fight, but I enjoyed my family and my training camp, and it was very good for me. I enjoyed it.”
Also on the televised broadcast were two undefeated Welterweights — Yaroslav Amosov (24-0) and Logan Storley (11-0). Storley’s strategy was easy to read for Amosov. He’d throw a punch and go for a single leg immediately. Amosov stuffed them over and over again, then flummoxed Storley by getting a takedown of his own late in the round. Still, it was a close round simply because Storley was doing a lot of work. Amosov wasn’t landing a whole lot of strikes; he was defending and sprawling to block Storley.
The second round saw Amosov go for a d’arce choke several times, but Storley was able to slip out of or block each attempt. Still, as John McCarthy noted on commentary, it was Amosov who was closer to the fight-ending moments in the round, even if Storley might have been winning the “positional” battles, making it a very close fight going into R3.
Yaroslav Amosov and Logan Storley take to the canvas in the 2️⃣nd round.— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) November 13, 2020
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If the third round was the tie breaker after such a hard fought war, it appeared Storley was the one who’d emerge the victor. Those “fight-ending moments” were in Storley’s favor as he had several attempts at a rear naked choke that almost finished Amosov, and he even tagged his opponent with a clean left late when he finally got back to his feet. Nevertheless, both men had to be nervous as they awaited the scorecards from the judges.
By virtue of a split-decision, Yaroslav Amosov eked it out 28-29. 29-28 X2. No interview followed the victory, but Amosov could still be happy to leave a perfect 25-0.
Another long-awaited fight from the Featherweight Grand Prix saw a rematch between Daniel Weichel (40-11) and Emmanuel Sanchez (19-4). “El Matador” Sanchez opened up fast with a flying knee that didn’t connect, then settled into a rhythm of constantly moving forward and trying to limit Weichel’s mobility against the fence. He circled off well but Sanchez continued to pop him repeatedly with his hands and his feet, landing several kicks and hooks that would have put lesser opponents away. 10-9 Sanchez early.
Sanchez came VERY close to getting a finish in the second round after a series of hard body shots made Weichel crumble to the canvas. Referee Todd Anderson warned Weichel to fight back, and he just barely did enough to avoid a stoppage. His survival only led to Sanchez pummeling him with body shots, head kicks, and leg kicks when they got back to the feet. It was a blowout round for Sanchez and very likely a 10-8 as a result.
Emmanuel Sanchez has Daniel Weichel in trouble early on in round 2️⃣.#Bellator252 is LIVE now on @CBSSportsNet in the and with @SkySports in the .#Bellator #MMA #FeatherweightWGP pic.twitter.com/T9ckI7TUiQ— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) November 13, 2020
Weichel did not improve his standing in the third round, but at least he managed to not get dropped again by another body shot. That doesn’t mean Sanchez wasn’t doing damage though, particularly with hard kicks to the lead left leg, slowing Weichel down and limiting his mobility and power. It was yet another 10-9 round for “El Matador.”
Every round Sanchez found a new target to work on, and in the fourth round it was the right half of Daniel Weichel’s face. The left hands repeatedly swelled, busted, and cut into his skin and made a mess of the handsome “Drake” Weichel’s face. Going into the fifth and final frame, Weichel would need a knockout or a submission to turn the tide in his favor. Let’s cut to the chase — he got neither and the bout went to the scorecards. Before the verdict, let’s get a look at the stats.
After the numbers were tallied up, 48-46, 49-46 and 49-45 were the scores for “El Matador” by unanimous decision. He spoke to “Big” John McCarthy afterward.
“A note to my kids in jiu-jitsu class and to all the students at Roufusport, everyone out in the world, you can do anything when you believe in yourself. Believe in your greatness, unparalleled greatness, HARD WORK, DEDICATION! That’s what it’s all about. I’m just loving what I do and doing what I love Big John, and giving all the honor and glory to my great God above. Life is good. My fight was cancelled, all the negativity and crazy stuff that’s going in the world, but now I’m here and so blessed to have this whole week, this day, this opportunity, this victory. I’m grateful for Daniel Weichel. Without a great fighter like that, I wouldn’t be able to put on a great performance just like this. Likewise with all the other fighters in the Grand Prix. Yeah — I’m gonna go out and get that title I didn’t get in Israel.”
As a bonus from the night’s preliminary action, check out Aaron Pico improving to 7-4 with a TKO of John de Jesus at 4:12 of the second round.
For complete Bellator 252 results and coverage click here.