A formidable test stands between “Pitbull” (above, right) and Joe Warren. | Photo: D. Mandel/Sherdog.com
Only one obstacle -- Daniel Straus, he of the current 12-fight winning streak -- remains between Patricio “Pitbull” Freire and his desired rematch with Bellator Fighting Championships featherweight titleholder Joe Warren.
Freire will meet Straus in the Season 4 featherweight tournament final at Bellator 45 on Saturday at the L’Auberge du Lac Casino and Resort in Lake Charles, La. A win there will earn the talented Brazilian a second crack at Warren, this time in a five-round bout for the gold.
“The fact that Joe Warren is waiting for me after I defeat Daniel Straus gives me even more motivation to win this fight,” Freire said. “I’m looking forward to having my revenge. However, I know I have a tough fight in front of me, so I’m thinking about Straus first.
“I was born to be a champion, and I prepare myself every day of my life for it,” he added. “Sooner or later, it’s going to happen. I will always pursue it, because I’m a Brazilian, and we never give up. The desire to grow is in our nature.”
Straus stands as a formidable test. The 26-year-old Team Vision representative secured his place in the 145-pound final with a unanimous decision over the previously unbeaten Nazareno Malegarie at Bellator 37 and a third-round guillotine choke submission against Kenny Foster at Bellator 41. Straus has not lost a fight in more than two years.
“Daniel is very strong, extremely explosive and can keep a good pace during the entire fight, but none of these things worry me,” Freire said. “I train for that every day for all of my fights. That’s my job.”
Straus relies heavily on wrestling and conditioning.
“I’m not worried about Daniel Straus’ wrestling ability, specifically,” Freire said. “I know he has good wrestling, but he’s not a pure wrestler. He’s not limited by his wrestling, so I have to be prepared for everything and anything, and I will be.”
Freire has stopped both of his tournament foes -- Georgi Karakhanyan and Wilson Reis -- on strikes. The once-beaten 23-year-old launched himself into the final with his third-round knockout against Reis at Bellator 41 in April.
“It would be cool to score three knockouts in a row during the tournament, but what matters the most to me is to get the victory,” Freire said. “I don’t care how it happens. I just want to make sure it’s my hand that is raised at the end of the fight.”