Bellator featherweight champ Patricio “Pitbull” Freire 26-4 MMA (14-4 Bellator) has had to pull out of his upcoming title defense vs Daniel “Drake” Weichel 39-9 MMA (8-1 Bellator).
As reported by MMAfighting, a knee injury to the champ is the reason the fight was pulled. Freire’s Brother offered to step in to face Weichel or a possible catchweight at 160 lbs. However the idea was shut down and the fight pulled to make again at a later event.
Freire first became champ at Bellator 123 on September 5, 2014 by defeating Pat “Paddy Mike” Curran 23-7 MMA (12-4 Bellator) by unanimous decision. The bout was a rematch from Bellator 85 on January 13, 2013 in which Curran won the belt by split decision. Freire went on to defend the strap twice before being defeated by Daniel Straus 24-8-1 MMA (11-5 Bellator) by unanimous decision at Bellator 145 on November 6, 2015. This was their 3rd bout in which Freire won the first two. In the pair’s fourth bout at Bellator 178 on April 21, 2017 Frieire reclaimed his title once more to become a two-time Bellator featherweight champion.
Freire had this to say about the unfortunate turn of events:
“I’m sad to announce I’ll no longer be fighting in Israel next week. Multiple injuries prevent me to perform.
A couple months ago due to a training accident I suffered a serious injury and started treating it immediately. I had to stop training for a few weeks and then I was able to start with several limitations. But due to those, other parts of my body were overcharged and new injuries kept piling up.
I’ve been doing physical therapy three times a day, I was lent a 25k dollars machine to sleep with every day, and although I wasn’t in my best condition I had no intention to pull out. In all my years in Bellator I only pulled out of a fight once due to a hand fracture.
Up until Wednesday the fight was 100% on. On Thursday came the doubt as one of the injuries aggravated. I deliberated with my team what to do up to 2am. I decided to test myself on Friday on my last sparring session. And then it became obvious I had no condition to step up in that cage. It’d be a disrespect to me, to the fans, to my opponent and to Bellator.
I’ll have to take 30 days off and then I’ll be able to start training again. I plan to fight in February at the latest and defend my belt against Daniel Weichel.
See you all soon”
Bellator 188 takes place on November 16, 2017.
Other bouts on the card are:
Noad Lahat vs Jeremiah Labiano
John Salter vs Jason Radcliffe
Denise Kielholtz vs Jessica Middleton
Haim Gozali vs arsen Faitovich
Luiz Victor Rocha vs Kirill Medvedovsky
Shimon Gosh vs Francisco Silva
Olga Rubin vs Joana Filipa
Oron Kahlon vs Julian Maloku
Alexander Nikulin vs Remi Abuhav
Almog Shay vs Anthony Nisim Mor
Alexey Trofimov vs Gad David Abisror
Natanial Parisi vs Or Eliov
Roman Kushnir vs Adam Keresh
Ivan Solomatov vs Moshe Ben Chimol
Raz Bring vs Nadim Kablan
Levi Matan vs Erik Sianov
Assaf Batan vs Mor Attias