Lloyd Woodard will face a tall task when he steps into the cage for his bout with Patricky Freire at Bellator 62 on Friday night.
With seven knockouts among his 10 career victories, the Brazilian is known as one of the most fearsome strikers in the promotion and is considered an early favorite to win the Season 6 lightweight tournament.
Woodard isn’t impressed by Freire’s power, however. In fact, the Missoula, Mont., native forecasts a stoppage victory for himself when he locks horns with “Pitbull” at the Laredo Energy Arena in Laredo, Texas.
“I’m usually pretty accurate with my predictions, and I see this fight with Patricky ‘Pitbull’ ending by TKO,” Woodard told Sherdog.com. “I see myself stopping him by the end of the second round or early in the third. I’ll probably drop him with a big punch, get on top and just bang him out.”
The Woodard-Freire showdown is one of four lightweight tournament quarterfinal bouts on the Bellator 62 bill. The eventual winner of the bracket receives $100,000 and a guaranteed 155-pound title shot.
“I’m coming into this tournament to put a belt around my waist. I like to wear baggy pants, and the belt I have right now just isn’t cutting it,” Woodard quipped. “I’m taking it this year. I feel really good, and I just can’t wait to take what’s mine.”
The Dogpound Fight Team representative has plenty of motivation driving him toward that goal. Current Bellator kingpin Michael Chandler handed Woodard the only loss of his career last April in the promotion’s Season 4 tournament semifinals. Six months after that bout, “Cupcake” underwent knee surgery that sidelined him for six months. Now recovered, he has been training with an eye toward another meeting with the champion.
“Since [the knee surgery] I’ve been working extremely hard on my wrestling, because that’s what Michael Chandler used to beat me. I just really want that rematch,” he said. “I want to fight Michael Chandler again, and I’m going to take out everybody in my way so I can beat the only guy that’s beaten me.”
First, there is the matter of getting by Freire, who fell to Chandler in the 155-pound final at Bellator 44. Woodard is looking forward to showcasing his standup skills against the explosive Team Nogueira product.
“I know I’m a better striker than [Freire]. I know I am,” Woodard said. “I’m going to come straight at him. I’m a lot more technical on my feet than most people think. I’ve been working a lot on my boxing. I’m not going to run; I’m going to get right in his face.”
And if Freire does connect with something significant, Woodard is confident that he is built to weather the storm.
“I have this huge mustache,” he said. “Every time Patricky hits me, it’s not even going to hurt that bad, because it’s so soft.”