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Patricky Freire surprised by quick KO of Kawajiri: ‘I thought the fight would be harder’

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Lightweight heavy-hitter Patricky Freire expected a knockout win, but did not anticipate it could in only 70 seconds against seasoned veteran Tatsuya Kawajiri at last Saturday’s Rizin FF 19.

In his first ever match in Japan (and in a ring, for that matter), ‘Pitbull’ scored a highlight reel flying knee KO to advance the semifinals of Rizin’s lightweight grand prix, but tells Portal do Vale Tudo he was prepared for Kawajiri, due to his experience, to last longer in the fight.

“I expected a knockout, but I thought the fight would be harder, because Kawajiri is so seasoned,” Freire said. “I thought he would try to take me down and smother me, but I was able to stay in the right distance and found the timing to stuff the takedowns. I was a little worried about my hand, but thank God, I felt nothing. Everything was perfect. Even the time zone issue, which was one of the things that worried me the most, as a well as my diet. I adapted very easily. I’m a disciplined guy, I did everything right in order to adapt quickly and felt nothing on fight day.”

The win extended Patricky Freire’s (22-8) to six straight victories, with four of them coming by way of knockout. During this run, the 33-year-old Bellator contender bested notable names such as former UFC champion Benson Henderson and former Strikeforce champion Josh Thomson, as well as veteran such as Kawajiri and Roger Huerta.

Now, Patricky Freire is expected to take on Luiz Gustavo in the semifinals of Rizin’s lightweight grand prix on December 31, in an event that will hold both semifinals and finals on the same night, Tokyo, Japan.

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