Count Patricio Freire among those who didn’t agree with the final verdict in the Bellator 267 headliner.
Michael Page defeated ex-welterweight champion Douglas Lima via split decision on Friday in London, but many observers thought Lima did enough to get the nod. Freire is in that camp, and he believes the result would be different if a third meeting was booked.
"The fight was pretty even,” the Bellator lightweight champion told Sherdog.com. “But I disagree with the result, I would give the win to Douglas. And if they make a trilogy, like MVP suggested, I will bet again on Douglas again.”
Meanwhile, it’s been more than two months since Freire relinquished his featherweight crown to A.J. McKee in the Bellator 263 main event. “Pitbull” revealed that he has made a somewhat unconventional proposal to the promotion.
"My desire is to have a title unification bout at a catchweight [of 150 pounds],” Freire said. “The winner gets both belts, but Bellator has not answered me yet. But if they decide to promote the rematch at featherweight or in lightweight, I´ll be ready as always.”
Freire is targeting early 2022 for his next Bellator MMA appearance.
"I would like to fight between January and March. My contract says I have to fight at least every five months, so that date would fit perfectly,” he said.
Freire also hopes that a rematch will take place in neutral territory after Bellator 263 was held in front of a boisterous pro-McKee crowd at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif. Freire, who has disputed what he believes to be an early stoppage after McKee locked him in a guillotine choke, points to the recent UFC 266 main event, where Alexander Volkanovski was given plenty of leeway when Brian Ortega had the featherweight champ trapped in a pair of tight submissions in the third round of their bout.
"I didn’t tap, [I did] not even pass out,” Freire said. “I saw the fight between Volkanovski and Ortega, and it was pretty similar. Imagine if the referee decided to stop the fight when Ortega caught the champion with that tight guillotine or even the triangle. It would be a big mess. In my opinion in title fights, the referee must let the body go [limp]. I have no doubt the referee received influence from the [crowd cheering for McKee].”
Freire added that he has already returned to his usual training routine.
"I'm training hard already. I imagine my opponent is watching my training and thinking what I would bring differently than the first fight,” Freire said. “Be sure I´ll bring some new weapons for my next fight.”
When asked how McKee would fare against Volkanovski, Freire says he thinks “Mercenary” would have his best chance for victory in the first round. A longer fight would favor the UFC champion.
"Volkanovski keeps the same pace for five rounds,” Freire said. “McKee would have a chance in the first round, after that Volkanovski would have the advantage.”
“Pitbull” also commented on the return of former opponent Michael Chandler, who is scheduled to face Justin Gaethje at UFC 268 next month.
"I think Chandler´s durability was affected after he was knocked out by me and [Charles] Oliveira,” Freire said. “Gaethje is not a good fight for him right now.”
The subject of former rival and current teammate Renan Barao was also broached during the interview. According to Freire, Barao is a new fighter and is already in negotiations with Ray Sefo to be part of the 2022 PFL season.
"He is evolving a lot here with us,” Freire said. “He is exchanging bases, more dynamic. Soon you will see a totally different Barao.”