Athletes handle retirement differently. Some are able to go out gracefully and enjoy what they've accomplished. Others decide that returning to civilian life isn't that much fun and can't wait to get back into action. Then, there's Brett Favre.
Earlier this year, Kurt Pellegrino announced he was hanging up the gloves and didn't pursue a new contract with the UFC. He was coming off consecutive losses to George Sotiropoulos and Gleison Tibau and found himself right back in the middle of the lightweight pack he was trying to free himself from. But that's the thing about retiring at 32 years old. There's a lot of life ahead of you and when opportunities to make money arise, you usually take them.
Pellgrino returns to action Saturday at Bellator 59, but the man welcoming "Batman" back to action -- Patricky Freire -- is no joker. Freire is coming off a lightweight tournament final loss to Michael Chandler earlier this year and will be looking to send Pellegrino to his own Arkham Asylum with the power that knocked out his first two Bellator opponents.
How do these guys stack up?
Pellegrino: 32 | 5'8" | Preferred form of victory: submission (63%)
Freire: 25 | 5'7" | Preferred form of victory: knockout (67%)
How did both guys get here?
Before decision losses to Sotiropolous and Tibau, Pellegrino (16-6) had won four consecutive fights. The near 10-year veteran debuted in the UFC in July 2006 and compiled a 7-5 Octagon mark. He's never been knocked out.
Before his decision loss to Chandler in May, Freire (9-2) knocked out Rob McCullough and Toby Imada at the tail end of a five-fight win streak. Before signing with Bellator, the Team Nogueira member had competed solely in Brazil.
Why should I watch?
This will be a great test for Freire against a well-traveled and experienced fighter. A win over Pellegrino puts him in a great spot heading into next year's expected 155-pound tournament that will also likely feature former champion Eddie Alvarez. Pellegrino can't be counted out by any means, but the question is whether that desire to compete and win is still there following his short retirement. A victory Saturday puts him in a good spot in Bellator's lightweight division heading into 2012.