The Bellator featherweight champion is headed for a superfight on New Year’s Day. While he makes the final preparations for his bout against Rizin’s title-holder Kleber Koike, Patricio Freire expects nothing short of a war to cap off 2022 on a memorable note at Bellator vs. Rizin’s co-main event.
In an interview with Combate, Freire said he expects a thrilling fight that should not go all the way to a decision. Although ‘Pitbull’ cannot tell how he thinks the match is going to the end, he guarantees it will be in a finish. For this reason, the Brazilian plans to be ready for any traps or tricks his opponent may try.
“I don’t think it’s going the distance. We’re going to try to finish this fight before that. May the better man win,”
“He gets lost on the feet sometimes, but that could be on purpose,” Freire said. “I need to be on to that, because it’s a trap. His specialty is jiu-jitsu, but I’m no fool (on the ground). I have submission wins than knockouts.”
Would that finish come from soccer kicks or stomps? To adapt to the RIZIN ruleset, the Bellator champion has also been drilling some moves that typically wouldn’t be legal in the US.
Patricio prepping at Krazy Bee gym practicing stomps and soccer kicks? YES YES YES pic.twitter.com/rrdkVT7Rq0— smoogy (@smoogymma) December 29, 2022
In his last outing, Freire (34-5) scored a unanimous decision over Adam Borics, back in October 2022, and another one in his rematch against A.J. McKee in April of the same year. The 35-year-old’s latest loss dates back to his first encounter against the ‘Mercenary’, which Pitbull lost via submission in July 2021.
Now, Freire is expected to take on Koike at Bellator vs. Rizin, on December 31, in Saitama, Japan. The card is scheduled to be headlined by a lightweight bout between Bellator’s former featherweight champion A.J. McKee and Rizin’s current 155-pound champ Roberto de Souza.