Bellator two-division champion Patricio Freire believes that former foe Michael Chandler will capture the UFC lightweight crown.
Shortly after Chandler’s impressive Octagon debut against Dan Hooker at UFC 257, Dana White stated that the ex-Bellator title holder could be in line for a shot at the vacant 155-pound belt against Dustin Poirier. Freire, who stopped Chandler in 61 seconds at Bellator 221 in May 2019 to claim lightweight gold, shared his impressions of Chandler vs. Hooker.
"Hooker did everything wrong,” Freire told Sherdog.com. “Chandler is a very explosive fighter. If you walk backwards like [Hooker] did, you will allow him to land his heavy hands. Chandler feinted a jab and caught him with a cross — something he has done his entire career.”
Freire is confident that Chandler will fare quite well against Poirier if the two lightweights square off in the Octagon.
"Poirier proved in that second fight against [Conor] McGregor that besides evolving his boxing, he also has a strong mind,” Freire said. “But Chandler´s game is a bad matchup for him. I truly believe he can beat Poirier very easily, just like he did with Hooker.”
Freire sees some technical issues with Poirier that could lead to his downfall against Chandler.
"He commits a couple of boxing mistakes that could be dangerous with Chandler,” Poirier said. “For example, he copies the [Floyd] Mayweather shoulder defense, which is really dangerous with four-ounce gloves. And he frequently gets hit because of that. If he gets hit by explosive guys with the knockout power of Chandler or myself, he will sleep. No doubt about it.”
As the last man to knock out Chandler in Bellator, “Pitbull” believes his former rival’s UFC debut once again proves to the MMA world that Bellator is not the sport’s second division.
“Everybody knows that I don’t like Chandler, and I don’t cheer for him,” Freire said. “But he is showing, like Eddie Alavarez did, the power of Bellator.”