Patricio Freire came to the ring in the UCI Bren Events Center in Irvine, California, actively looking to dethrone the Bellator Featherweight Champion during the first Bellator bout in Spike TV history.
“Pitbull” spent the first period connecting before Curran early on. While the Crystal Lake native remained active, using his reach for the duration of the round, it was clear that the Brazilian was just a bit faster.
The second round saw Curran pumping his jab, which seemed magnetically tethered to the mouth of the challenger. “Pitbull” would continue to land leg kicks and body shots, but his face began to show signs of being mashed by the champ’s jab, turning the tides.
Freire would have none of it. The third round was razor thin, both men landed voluminously, tit-for-tat. While the period was hotly contested, the sheer number of strikes thrown by both men looked to take its toll on the Brazilian, who returned to the corner with his mouth agape and face bloodied.
The featherweight king would largely cruise through the first of championship rounds, a setting which was new to “Pitbull.” The story remained the same in the fifth, as Pat’s jab would do most of the damage, really dictating the fight, despite bursts of offense from his opponent. Freire, however, did manage to get a second wind in the closing moments, clearly hurting Pat, putting him on the defensive.
The final bell brought a tense moment as the judges rendered a split decision. A look of disappointment came over the face of the champion as the first card read 48-47 for Freire. That did not last very long however, as the subsequent scores were 48-47 in his favor, his arms flung upward in celebration as he had defended his title for the first time.