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SAN JOSE, Calif. — Every fighter in the Bellator featherweight grand prix field represents a potential title defense for the 145-pound champion, Patricio Freire.
Each time the champ steps into the cage throughout the tournament, his title will be on the line, which begins with his first-round matchup against Juan Archuleta on Sept. 28 at Bellator 228.
Once the opening round is completed, a random draw will be conducted, which will enable those who come out on the better end of things to pick their opponent or the date they want to fight. Which means someone could make a bee-line for a title fight with “Pitbull” should he retain his belt.
With that in mind, the champion, who also holds the Bellator lightweight title, had some thoughts on the first block of tournament fights that took place this past weekend at Bellator 226.
The field was whittled from 16 to 12 at SAP Center (the other four bouts go down at Bellator 228), as Adam Borics finished Pat Curran in the second round; Emmanuel Sanchez submitted Tywan Claxton in the second; Derek Campos earned a one-sided unanimous decision over Daniel Straus; and Pedro Carvalho submitted Sam Sicilia in the second.
MMA Junkie contacted the champ Saturday night and asked him his thoughts on the evening’s featherweight results. Freire believed the evening all in all was entertaining, but he particularly singled out Carvalho and Sanchez for their performances.
“The fights were good,” Freire said. “In my opinion, the best performance was by the Portuguese fighter, Pedro Carvalho. He seems highly motivated to go through the tournament and do a good job. As far as Sanchez, I predicted he’d win. He has more experience.”
As for the remaining tourney fights at Bellator 226, “Pitbull” seems to believe they said more about former champions Curran and Straus at this stage of their careers than it does about the victors.
“Regarding Borics beating Curran, it didn’t seem like that flying knee or subsequent punches landed very flush,” Freire said. “Curran just covered up and accepted the loss. And Daniel Straus, who lost to Derek Campos, unfortunately hasn’t been the same since his motorcycle accident. It’s a good thing that he fought, and that he’s been working hard to be the fighter he used to be. But he hasn’t been able to put on a good performance since that time.”
News | MMA Junkie