After another successful title defense of the featherweight belt at Bellator 228, in which he defeated Juan Archuleta on the first round of their Featherweight Grand Prix, Patricio Freire already has a date and a name for his next fight. It will take place on March 2020, against Pedro Carvalho.
A teammate of former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion Conor McGregor, Pedro is on a six-fight winning streak as he approaches the biggest of his career so far. Freire tells Bloody Elbow he chose to take him on as opposed to Darion Caldwell, not only because he thinks it’s a tougher fight, but also because ‘Pitbull’ wants to beat up Conor McGregor and is willing to settle for his teammate instead.
“Pedro is a good fighter, but he has not faced anyone that you can call a high-level fighter yet. He did well against opponents who are close to the top, but there’s a difference, especially when it comes to the champion. I’ll show him that.
“I chose Pedro precisely because he was not the easiest fight. Between him and Caldwell, Caldwell would’ve been easier for me. Pedro is from McGregor’s team, if I can’t beat up McGregor, because he’s from another promotion, I’ll beat his teammamtes. And my athletes will beat up the other ones.”
With other notable names also participating in the tournament, such as former bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell, rising young prospect A.J. McKee, the son of veteran Antonio McKee, and seasoned athletes such as Derek Camps and Daniel Weichel, Freire believes that whoever makes it to the finals will be a worthy opponent. He has no preferences on who gets there other than himself though.
“Eventually, I want to beat everybody who has called me out. I have no preferences. I think AJ and Caldwell will be the finalists from the other side of the bracket, but any result is possible. Lots of people already put AJ in the finals, but Campos is a heavy-hitter and a good wrestler, things can get complicated for him. Whoever gets to the final will have earned their spot. That’s what matters.”
Currently on a five-fight winning streak, Freire defeated the likes of Daniel Straus, Daniel Weichel, Emmanuel Sanchez and Michael Chandler prior to his victory of Juan Archuleta. The 32-year-old’s last loss happened in August 2016, a leg injury TKO to former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson at Bellator 160.