Patricky Freire campaigned for a fight with Ryan Couture as soon as he heard Derek Anderson was out of Saturday’s Bellator 148 fight with an injury, and he got it. Coming off a close split decision loss to Anderson at Bellator 147, “Pitbull” returns to the cage 55 days later to go for his eighth win under the Bellator banner.
“I asked Bellator for a fight soon because I’m fighting and training well, I’m feeling well, and I needed a fight,” Freire told MMAFighting.com. “I was so upset with that loss to the judges. I was so mad I was stressed at home. I need a fight, I need a win to relieve. Let’s get that win. That’s what I want, that’s what I need.”
The Brazilian got close to a shot at the lightweight belt a couple times in the past, and is willing to cut extra pounds to become a Bellator champion in 2016.
“My plan for 2016 is to become champion,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how many fights I have to do, and in which division, 145 or 155 pounds. If I have to take 10 fights this year, I will, at 145 or 155. I want to be the champion. I don’t think I would actually need 10 fights to become champion this year, but I’m willing to fight 10 times if I have to. I want the Bellator belt, at lightweight or featherweight.”
Patricky’s brother Patricio Freire is a former Bellator featherweight champion, but fighting at his division wouldn’t be an issue. According to Patricky, his brother could cut down to 135 pounds in the future after losing his title to Daniel Straus.
“(Patricio) would stay in the division and maybe drop (to bantamweight) later,” said Patricky. “He never tried (to make 135 pounds), but he can try.”
Freire’s hopes to become Bellator champion depend on a win over Couture in Fresno, Calif.
“I haven’t done anything specific,” said the Brazilian, who took the fight on short notice. “I know he likes to grapple and is coming off some submission victories. I know he will try to grapple me. I won’t try to stand and trade with me, so I prepared my body and my mind for this type of fight.
“He’s coming off submissions, he likes to grapple. I don’t know why he doesn’t have great takedowns like his father [Randy Couture], who does a great job on this MMA game. He likes to grapple, but he never fought a true Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. He has fought guys with poor ground games, so let’s see how he reacts against a Brazilian black belt.”
With five of his eight Bellator wins coming by way of knockout, “Pitbull” expects Couture to immediately go for takedowns Saturday night.
“I know he won’t try to stand with me,” Freire said. “He doesn’t have many knockouts on his record. His last four fights show what he likes to do. He hasn’t fought great strikers or grapplers, but I won’t underestimate him. I’m ready for anything he tries.”