Friday night will mark the first Bellator featherweight title defense for Patricio “Pitbull” Freire as he is challenged by former Bellator champion Daniel Straus in the main event of Bellator 132 at the Pechanga Resort and Casino from Temecula, California.
Pitbull (22-2) will be looking for accomplish something that has not been done by the Bellator featherweight champion in the last three title fights in the division, having Bellator Michael Williams say “and still Bellator featherweight champion.”
It was back on September 5th that Pitbull became the Bellator champion when he defeated two-time champion Pat Curran at Bellator 123. It was his fifth straight victory and the Brazilian fighter admitted to having different emotions as the scorecards were read.
“It was a mixture of emotions when the decision was read in my rematch with Pat Curran,” Pitbull said. “Having the belt wrapped around my waist was a moment I prepared myself my whole life for. I can’t really describe the sensation, but it was amazing.”
The Bellator championship symbolizes the realization of a dream for him and everything he has done throughout his career lead him to this moment. Becoming a champion was always the goal and with title now around his waist, he has set new goals for himself.
“Now that I have achieved my goal of becoming a world champion, my new goal is to break records, defend the title as much as possible and win titles in other weight classes as well,” he explained. “This is truly just the beginning. When I’m done, I want people to remember my name anytime they say MMA. I want to be the greatest fighter to have ever lived. I’ll fight and beat anyone that’s offered to me so I can achieve this goal.”
While Friday night will mark his first title defense, it will not be the first time he has been in the cage with Straus. Back at Bellator 45 in 2011, Pitbull defeated Straus by unanimous decision to win the season four featherweight tournament. Since that fight, both fighters have a combined record of 12-2 and both have a decision win over Curran.
Last week, Straus told TheMMAReport.com that he has not watched their first fight since he had trouble finding the full fight video online. Pitbull remembers their first encounter and the takeaway he had was that Straus is a tough opponent.
“From my first fight with Daniel Straus, I remember that he’s tough and takes the fight to the highest level, but I’m tougher than him.”
Over three years have passed since their first meeting and Pitbull is well aware that his opponent on Friday night is a much different fighter now. He pointed out that Straus is more well rounded now but he is also a different fighter as well.
“The last time I fought Daniel, I didn’t have a wrestling base. I trained with people in Brazil with little knowledge of the art. But since then I have trained with Eric Albarracin, who mentored Henry Cejudo to become the youngest Olympic champion in wrestling history. I trained with him at Team Nogueira for a few years, I had him prepare me for the second fight with Curran and I brought him now to the Pitbull Brothers training center to prepare me for Straus.”
This week, Bellator commentator Jimmy Smith called Pitbull one of the best pound for pound hitters in all of MMA and sixteen of his wins have come by knockout or submission. Pitbull has always stated that he wants to finish every fight and that is his plan heading into this fight.
“I’m coming into that cage to take Daniel out,” Pitbull said. “I feel I can finish any man in the world, wherever the fight goes. Fans should expect a great battle with me coming out on top. I want to finish Daniel this time so he never has the desire to fight me again in the future. That’s how I’ll look all my performances to be. No one should want to fight me twice.”