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Bellator’s “Pitbull” Freire Says he Won Title Despite Fight Threatening Injury

Kelsey Mowatt

Patricio Freire

If you claim to be a “huge MMA fan” but haven’t taken the time to watch Patricio “Pitbull” Freire fight, then you, sir or madam, need to change that ASAP. The reason being that not only is Freire one of Bellator’s most entertaining fighters to watch, he’s also ridiculously good.

Case in point, Freire recently avenged a 2013 loss to Pat Curran at Bellator 123, by working his way to a unanimous decision win over the highly regarded fighter. If that wasn’t impressive enough, “Pitbull” has relayed that he laid claim to Bellator’s featherweight title with a badly injured knee.

Although yes, fighters routinely enter fights being less than one-hundred-percent, Freire told MMA Fighting.com that the injury was so significant, he had pulled out of the bout at one juncture. In fact, he says he had two injuries.

“I actually canceled the fight a couple weeks before the event, I said I couldn’t do it,” said Freire. “I had the worst camp of my life. I was so injured I couldn’t throw a kick, and then I injured my shoulder and I couldn’t throw a punch, too. I usually train twice a day, and I was barely training once a day. I had fever every time I stopped training. It was terrible.”

According to the 27 year-old fighter, Bellator elected to hold off cancelling the bout, and then contacted him several days out from the September 5th card to see if he could still compete. Freire says it was his manager Jorge Guimaraes who ultimately convinced him to fight.

So how did this injury happen? Was it while rolling? Sparring? Nope. Think stranger…

“I was in New York for a Bellator photo shoot and they asked me to throw some flying knees, but I was landing on the concrete. I did it 30 times, and ended up injuring my meniscus,” Freire said. “I couldn’t train. I went to the doctor and he said I couldn’t fight. Bellator took me to another doctor and he said the same thing, so I canceled the fight. I forgot about my diet, forgot about the fight.”

Freire also relayed in the interview that he’ll undergo surgery soon, but not for his knee, instead he needs to get his nose operated on. The featherweight says the knee injury will be rehabbed.

When Freire is set to return, it will be interesting to see whether they consider booking him a rubber match with Curran, or if they go with a tourney winner like Daniel Weichel.

Since arriving in Bellator, “Pitbull” has become one of the promotion’s most notable commodities, thanks to a 10-2 run. The only other man to beat him, other than Curran, is Joe Warren.

During that time, the Team Nogueira fighter has scored wins over established vets like Daniel Straus, Justin Wilcox, Diego Nunes, Georgi Karakhanyan and Wilson Reis. That’s quite the resume.

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