There’s a new champ-champ in MMA.
Patricio “Pitbull” Freire entered Saturday night’s Bellator 221 main event as the promotion’s featherweight champion moved up to lightweight and scored a quick knockout of Michael Chandler. It was a right hand that put Chandler on the ground, and several ground strikes forced the referee to intervene. Chandler was trying to get back to his feet when the fight was waived off, but he was undoubtedly hurt, and this highly-anticipated showdown lasted barely a minute.
This rivalry between the Pitbull Brothers and Chandler has simmered for years, with Michael having twice beaten Patricky Freire, including by KO for the lightweight title. Patricio sought to make history and cement himself further as arguably the greatest Bellator MMA fighter ever, and it was mission accomplished.
Despite their animosity over the years, they did touch gloves before the fight began. The first major strike landed in the fight was a right hand by Patricio. As it turns out, the next major strike was a right hand behind the ear that floored Chandler. Pitbull pounced in search of the finish, landed several left hands and referee Rob Madrigal stopped the fight even as Chandler was getting back to his feet. There was talk of it being a premature stoppage, although in the heat of the moment Chandler was not defending the left hands at all.
Official result: Patricio Pitbull def. Michael Chandler by KO (punches) at 1:01 of round 1 to become Bellator’s new lightweight champion
Freire moves to 29-4 in his career and has two belts in his possession. Chandler drops to 19-5 and it’s the third time he’s lost his lightweight crown. It is, however, the first time he’s been dethroned by knockout.