Patricio “Pitbull” Freire didn’t get a finish, but he dominated for the better part of 25 minutes in a lopsided performance as he defended his title and moved forward in the ongoing Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix.
The two-division Bellator champion used an effective counter-striking attack to stifle Archuleta at every turn en route to judges scores of 49-46, 50-45 and 49-46 in his favor after five rounds.
“This dude is a warrior,” Freire said following his win. “I want to thank him for this fight. We did a great battle here.”
It took some time for the fighters to engage in the opening round, as “Pitbull” and Archuleta were tentative to give an inch when exchanging strikes on the feet. The first real action saw Archuleta fall off balance while throwing a head kick, which allowed the Brazilian to rush forward before latching onto a guillotine choke against the cage.
Archuleta was never in any serious danger, and it was obvious that “Pitbull” wasn’t going to fall into guard to lock up the submission. Instead, “Pitbull” maintained top control before unleashing a huge flurry of punches just before the round came to an end.
While Archuleta was constantly moving on the outside, he clearly didn’t want to get drawn into a fire fight with the heavy-handed “Pitbull”. Just after a left hand went buzzing by his head, Archuleta finally closed the distance to look for a takedown but the two-division Bellator champion thwarted him at every turn.
As the third round got underway, Archuleta was still trying to stay away from Freire’s power. But that backfired in dramatic fashion after he rushed forward in an ill-advised bit of offense that was countered by a massive right hand straight down the middle. As soon as the punch landed, Archuleta went flying backwards with “Pitbull” in hot pursuit as he began blasting away with shots in hopes of getting the finish.
A large cut started leaking blood all over Archuleta’s head but he was able to scramble free before “Pitbull” could mount any further damage while seeking the knockout on the ground.
It was more of the same during the final 10 minutes, with Archuleta attempting to get a little more offensive minded but every time he stepped forward aggressively, “Pitbull” made him pay for it. The reigning featherweight champion was methodical with his power punches, forcing Archuleta to move forward and then unleashing his heavy hands during every exchange.
There was no doubt when the final bell sounded that “Pitbull” was moving forward in the tournament that will hand $1 million to the eventual winner. He also successfully defended his title, which he will need to do three more times to win the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix.