Emmanuel Sanchez will face current Bellator MMA “champ-champ,” Patricio Freire, at the upcoming Bellator 255 event on April 2, 2021. The two men initially threw down at Bellator 209 in Nov. 2018 with “Pitbull” defeating Sanchez after five rounds of back-and-forth action.
While that bout was entertaining for fight fans, Sanchez is looking to avoid another 25-minute slugfest because he intends to end the fight sooner.
“I do not want a back-and-forth fight, like our first one,” Sanchez told FanSided. “And I don’t see that. I’ve already felt his power, his speed, his strength and I’ve had the pleasure of being cage side for his last three fights, I was in attendance, front row for his last two fights.”
Since defeating Sanchez, Freire went on to knockout Michael Chandler to win the 155-pound belt, as well as defend his Featherweight strap two more times against Pedro Carvalho and Juan Archuleta.
Sanchez was an eager spectator at all three fights, taking the opportunity to study up a bit more on “Pitbull.” And he feels he learned quite a bit, and when you couple his experience in the cage with Patricio, Sanchez is more than confident this time around.
“So, his biggest win over Michael Chandler, the one over [Juan] Archuleta and obviously Pedro Carvalho. Even more now, being in the cage with him, and then seeing him still do those great things cage side, the tackles, stoppages, all those performances that he had over those great fighters I know that, okay, and as great as they are, there’s still that need. I know my style, my pressure, and my mindset going into the whole fight in what I bring to the table.
“I’m a completely different fighter than those three,” he continued. “And I think that is what made those fights easier for Pitbull because they didn’t come at him like I’m going to come at him or I came at him, and he said himself that I was his toughest fight.”
Since the loss to Freire, Sanchez went on to win three in a row over Georgi Karakhanyan, Tywan Claxton and Daniel Weichel. And while he wanted a rematch right away, he didn’t mind working his way back up. Feeling improved and better than ever, Sanchez predicts he will stop “Pitbull” before it gets to the championship rounds.
“I wanted the immediate rematch since I lost that fight,” he concluded. “I didn’t get it. And it was fine. I knew I needed to work my way back up. Continue to win, continue to grow, and get better, and eventually, we would cross paths again. And now here we are. And I see myself stopping Patricio Pitbull in less than three rounds.”
Freire has never been knocked out or submitted in his mixed martial arts (MMA) career ... so will Sanchez be the first?