Patricio “Pitbull” Freire owns a 7-2 mark in Bellator. | Photo: Will Fox/Sherdog.com
Patricio Freire must clear two more hurdles before he reaches his desired destination: a return bout with Bellator MMA featherweight champion Pat Curran.
“Pitbull” will toe the line against Fabricio Guerreiro in the Season 9 featherweight tournament semifinals at Bellator 103 on Friday at the Kansas Star Casino in Wichita, Kan. The winner will advance to the 145-pound final, where a showdown with either Justin Wilcox or Joe Taimanglo will await.
Freire has posted five wins in his last six appearances. The 26-year-old Team Nogueira export last fought at Bellator 99 in September, when he needed just 79 seconds to dispatch Ultimate Fighting Championship castaway Diego Nunes at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, Calif. A potent finisher, he has delivered 15 of his 19 career wins by knockout, technical knockout or submission. “Pitbull” has already reached two tournament finals since arriving in Bellator as an unbeaten prospect in 2010.
Da Silva has won seven of his past eight bouts. The 23-year-old last competed at Bellator 99, where he advanced to the semifinal round with a unanimous decision over Desmond Green. “Guerreiro” has secured more than half (12) of his 19 professional victories by submission: four by armbar, three by kimura, two by triangle choke and one each by arm-triangle choke, rear-naked choke and keylock.
With the Freire-Da Silva featherweight semifinal as the centerpiece, here are 10 facts surrounding Bellator 103:
FACT 1: Both of Freire’s losses have come by split decision, the first to Joe Warren at Bellator 23 in June 2010 and the second to Curran at Bellator 85 in January.
FACT 2: Since debuting in January 2009, da Silva has competed in 10 different promotions: Gladiator Fight, MMA Evolution, Win Combat Championship, Ultimate Finus Fighting, EcoFight, Macapa Martial Arts, Iron Man Vale Tudo, King Combat, Equinocio Fight and Bellator.
FACT 3: Wilcox wrestled collegiately at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, the same institution that produced longtime UFC welterweight contender Josh Koscheck.
FACT 4: By the time Tamainglo returns to the Spike 22 gym in Tamuning, Guam, from his appearance in the Season 9 featherweight semifinals, he will have traveled more than 14,000 miles.
FACT 5: Aaron Rosa is 14-0 outside of the UFC, Strikeforce and EliteXC.
FACT 6: Russian light heavyweight Mikhail Zayats has put together four different winning streaks of four fights or more.
FACT 7: David Rickels hails from Derby, Kan., which was recently named one of the “10 Best Towns for Families” in the United States by Family Circle magazine. The others were Cedar Park, Texas, Kennesaw, Ga., Cooper City, Fla., Madison, Miss., Franklin, Mass., Chanhassen, Minn., Diamond Bar, Calif., Castle Rock, Colo., and Morton Grove, Ill.
FACT 8: “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 12 alum J.J. Ambrose has finished 11 opponents inside the first round.
FACT 9: An International Sport Karate Association world champion, Brazilian lightweight Marcio Navarro owns a 25-0 record as a kickboxer.
FACT 10: Bellator has held only one other event -- Bellator 56 -- in the state of Kansas.