Bellator has lost the headline bout of this week’s event in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Featherweight champion Patricio Freire was forced out of Bellator 188 clash with Daniel Weichel due to a knee injury, sources confirmed to MMAFighting following a report by Ram Gilboa.
Freire (26-4) recaptured the 145-pound title in April, choking out Daniel Straus at Bellator 178. “Pitbull” and Weichel (39-9) fought for the first time in June 2015, which the Brazilian won via second-round knockout.
Freire’s team told MMA Fighting that Patricky Freire, who went to Israel with his brother Patricio, has volunteered to replace him against Weichel in a lightweight bout or fight anyone else in a 160-pound catchweight, but the promotion shut down the idea.
Bellator 188 is scheduled to take place at the Menora Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv. Noad Lahat vs. Jeremiah Labiano, the original co-main event, is now the headliner.
The Freire-Weichel bout will be rescheduled at a later date.
Freire released a statement to MMA Fighting about the situation.
I’m sad to announce I’ll no longer be fighting in Israel next week. Multiple injuries prevent me to perform.
A couple months ago due to a training accident I suffered a serious injury and started treating it immediately. I had to stop training for a few weeks and then I was able to start with several limitations. But due to those, other parts of my body were overcharged and new injuries kept piling up.
I’ve been doing physical therapy three times a day, I was lent a 25k dollars machine to sleep with every day, and although I wasn’t in my best condition I had no intention to pull out. In all my years in Bellator I only pulled out of a fight once due to a hand fracture.
Up until Wednesday the fight was 100% on. On Thursday came the doubt as one of the injuries aggravated. I deliberated with my team what to do up to 2am. I decided to test myself on Friday on my last sparring session. And then it became obvious I had no condition to step up in that cage. It’d be a disrespect to me, to the fans, to my opponent and to Bellator.
I’ll have to take 30 days off and then I’ll be able to start training again. I plan to fight in February at the latest and defend my belt against Daniel Weichel.
See you all soon.