When Patricky Freire rematches Peter Queally in the Bellator 270 main event on Friday at 3Arena in Dublin, he will do so with the fate of the vacant Bellator MMA lightweight title hanging in the balance.
It could conceivably amount to a last-chance opportunity for the 35-year-old Brazilian, who failed in his bid to capture the 155-pound crown in 2016. Freire enters the cage on the heels of back-to-back losses. He last competed at Bellator 258, where a second-round cut ended his first encounter with Queally prematurely on May 7. Freire has delivered more than half (15) of his 23 career victories by knockout or technical knockout.
In this exclusive interview with Sherdog.com, “Pitbull” touches on his rematch with Queally, facing a hostile environment in Ireland and the decision by his brother, Patricio Freire, to make room for him by vacating the Bellator lightweight championship:
Sherdog.com: After enjoying a seven-fight winning streak, you suffered a loss in the Rizin Fighting Federation lightweight grand prix final at the end of 2019. You had two cancellations in 2020 and did not fight until 2021. Why was that?
Freire: My fight against Jaleel Willis [at Bellator 249] was canceled due to a labyrinthitis flareup. It took some time to recover. Originally, I was going to face Peter Queally, but he broke a finger.
Sherdog.com: What happened when you did face Queally?
Freire: I analyzed my loss. I feel the doctor could have let the fight continue. We were already going into the third round. A few days later, a UFC fighter took an elbow that wouldn’t stop bleeding for an entire round, but that athletic commission didn’t stop it. I feel that if my own fight had been allowed to continue, it would have been fine since there was so little time left. The cutman took almost a minute to find my cut. By the time he found it, there wasn’t enough time to stem the bleeding. Either way, I could have continued.
Sherdog.com: What can you say about Queally, now that you are headed for a rematch?
Freire: Nothing he did during our fight was impressive in any way. The only difference I saw, compared to previous fights, was that he kept his guard up throughout the fight. He normally keeps his hands lower. I feel he’ll do the same in our rematch. I won’t be changing strategy. I feel there are several aspects of his game I can exploit. I felt this when I faced him. I don’t care if it’s a three- or a five-round fight. I’ll beat him badly. I’ll destroy him. He won’t be able to stand the punishment. He won’t make it to the final buzzer. I’m more motivated for this fight. I know it will be war from start to finish. From the moment I walk out until I win the fight, the entire stadium will be rooting against me. It’s going to be crazy. I will be ready for that. It won’t keep me from doing what I need to do to win. I will knock him out.
Sherdog.com: What are your goals for the future?
Freire: My goal is to fight for the belt and to start a new, long fighting streak. MMA is full of surprises. I don’t take anything away from my opponents, but since there are so many ways to win and to get hurt, anything can happen. Ultimately, I know how much talent and ability I have. My career has been focused on being champion. I’m closer than ever. I won’t give up.
Sherdog.com: How did you feel about the news that your brother surrendered the lightweight title so you could have chance to be a champion, too?
Freire: I was very happy with the news. My brother surprised me in a group message with our trainers and training partners. I was already training hard, as if it was going to be for five rounds for the belt. After the news, I just kept doing the same work. I can hardly wait. I’m very thankful to my brother for having relinquished the belt. I’m truly happy and grateful. This card will be a memorable moment. I will beat Peter Queally fast, as I should have done before. He won’t know what hit him. All his claims about beating me—I’ll make him swallow them, along with his blood and teeth.
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