Bellator champions Patricio Freire and Michael Chandler have been trading shots on social media — one more time — over the past few days and are in favor of a possible superfight. If that really happens, it would bring mixed feelings for another member of Freire’s team.
Patricky Freire, older brother of the featherweight champion, is climbing the lightweight rankings for another crack at the Bellator gold. If his brother really moves up to 155 pounds to challenge Chandler for his belt, that could postpone his chances of getting a shot at the title. If Patricio was victorious, he would not fight for a belt any time soon.
Yet, at the same time that he would have his dream of holding a Bellator belt taken away from him, he makes sure to look at the situation on a brighter scope.
“It’s always good to see the enemy taken down by your brother [laughs],” Patricky Freire told MMA Fighting. “Him being taken down by anyone, I’ll always enjoy it. Patricio has some bad blood with him because of me, because of my loss (to Chandler), so I would definitely be happy, would definitely think it’s great that he beats Chandler.”
Patricio “Pitbull” and “Iron” Chandler have talked about a possible fight years before, but it never came to fruition. After seeing welterweight Rory MacDonald attempt to become a two-division champion and light heavyweight titleholder Ryan Bader succeed in his heavyweight tournament run, Patricky hopes it finally happens.
“I think it’s more likely to happen now because Chandler is the champion, but I don’t know,” Freire said. “Bellator has missed this opportunity so many times. I think they haven’t done that before because Chandler only had one fight left in his contract, but we never know for sure. Patricio was upset that Bellator dropped the ball on many rivalries, like the ones with Joe Warren and James Gallagher, and it’s taking too long to make this fight now.”
If Chandler-Freire finally comes to fruition, the Brazilian only hopes to stay active and get paid. On Saturday, “Pitbull” headlines Bellator Newcastle against local favorite Ryan Scope, a former BAMMA lightweight champion who will be making his debut in the Bellator cage.
Freire admits it’s “a bit disappointing” to face a promotional newcomer while he’s coming off wins over Roger Huerta, Derek Campos, Ben Henderson and Josh Thomson, but that doesn’t mean he’s underestimating Scope.
“He reminds me of myself when I signed with Bellator and had to prove myself against bigger names,” Freire said.
On Saturday, Scope will have the support of the English crowd inside the Metro Radio Arena.
For “Pitbull”, that’s good news.
“I’m so used to fighting in my opponent’s hometown that it’s cool for me,” Freire said. “If the crowd tris to pressure me and make some noise, that’s motivation for me. I never felt under pressure by any crowd. The worst crowd I’ve ever faced was against David Rickels. We were the main event in his hometown, I had lost three of my last four fights, but the crowd only pumped me up. I remember that only three people got up after I knocked him out, two kids and an old lady — I don’t know if they hated him or whatever [laughs].
“I would feel more pressure if I were fighting in front of my people in Brazil, having to live up to the expectations, than fighting in enemy field. The more they scream, more energy they will be feeding me.”
”Pitbull” believes he has the “obligation” to win the fight based on his history in the promotion, and vows to earn Scope’s respect by putting a beating on him in Newcastle.
“I think he will try to do what he always does, which is try to prove he’s better than me on the feet,” Freire said. “I always picture myself winning by knockout. That’s the first thing that comes to mind. It’s automatic, I mentalize that with every opponent, but I have other ways to win.”