Patricky Freire isn’t fighting Josh Thomson at Bellator 147, but the fate of the UFC and Strikeforce veteran could directly affect Freire’s path to the lightweight title.
Thomson is headlining Friday’s card in San Jose, Calif., against the relatively unknown Pablo Villaseca, whose lone Bellator outing resulted in a loss to Bobby Cooper this past June. Freire, meanwhile, will attempt to avenge a previous defeat to Derek Anderson in another featured lightweight tilt. The evening’s main card airs on Spike TV beginning at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT.
While he has no issue with Thomson headlining the card, Freire doesn’t quite understand why Villaseca was selected to be “The Punk’s” second opponent under the Bellator banner. Thomson dispatched journeyman Mike Bronzoulis with relative ease in his promotional debut at Bellator 142, this after facing a murderer’s row of Tony Ferguson, Bobby Green and Benson Henderson that led to a three-fight skid and him parting ways with the UFC.
“He's a big name, it's in his city and they want to sell tickets. It makes sense. If the fight was in Natal I would be the main event,” Freire told Sherdog.com. “The only thing that doesn't make sense are the matchups he's getting. I understand the first one, but this? It's not that I'm disrespecting his opponent; anything can happen in a fight. But I just don't understand why put him against a guy who is 0-1 in Bellator and people hadn't heard about until now when basically the entire division was available.”
Even though Thomson was a former Strikeforce titlist and owns notable triumphs over the likes of Nate Diaz, Gesias Cavalcante, Pat Healy, Gilbert Melendez, Nam Phan and Duane Ludwig over the course of his 30-bout professional career, Freire doesn’t believe the veteran lightweight should be anointed the No. 1 contender so quickly in his new home.
“He's got great accomplishments, but he hasn't beaten anyone in the top 10 of Bellator's lightweight division,” Freire said. “Title shots can't just be granted purely because of your name. He needs to at least fight someone among the top 5 before getting a title shot.”
Freire has won four of his last five bouts since dropping a unanimous verdict to Anderson at Bellator 98 in September 2013. That loss was at the tail end of a three-fight skid for the Brazilian, who says he asked for the rematch prior to facing Saad Awad in August but was rebuffed by Anderson. Apparently, things have changed, but Freire says Anderson will be seeing a different opponent come Friday night.
“I overlooked him the last time, didn't train as I should and I had a lot of bad things going on my life there,” Freire said. “I was battling depression; I was without a fight for a long time. I had a great first round, but the ring rust and lack of preparation made me fade in the following rounds, and I lost, although I believe it was a bit controversial.”
Freire’s ultimate goal is a showdown with reigning lightweight king Will Brooks. Freire, along with his brother Patricio, were involved in an alleged altercation with Brooks two days before the American Top Team product’s title defense against Marcin Held at Bellator 145 in St. Louis. The incident was the culmination of weeks of trash talk between the “Pitbull” brothers and Brooks, and approximately one month later, Patrick Freire still has no love lost for the champion.
“I pity him. He's a fake trying to make people feel sorry for him and sympathize with him. He tries to play this good boy who listens to his mother and should behave better. He talks about his team, but those who knows him knows he hurts his training partners,” Freire said. “He goes around the gym thinking he's better than everyone there, doesn’t say hello to people, does not treat them with respect. He tries to make the media go with his script.
“People seem to forget he threatened me and my brother several times before, he even threatened everyone from our coaches to our translator on a press call the week before Patricio's last fight. I can't wait to have the chance to put my hands on him and make him swallow all the insults and lies he made towards us.”
It remains to be seen if a win over Anderson will get Freire his desired date with Brooks, especially with an accomplished veteran like Thomson looming. Freire makes a succinct case for himself as to why he would be the most deserving No. 1 contender should both he and Thomson emerge victorious at Bellator 147.
“Because I'll knock Will Brooks out, and people will love it,” he said.