Patricio Freire (aka “Pitbull”) was born on July 7th, 1987 in Natal, Brazil. The 34 year-old Brazilian fighter is a former Bellator Lightweight Champion and former two-time Bellator Featherweight Champion.
He is currently ranked as the no.4 featherweight in the world by Fight Matrix, and no.1 featherweight fighter outside of the UFC by Ranking MMA, whilst Combat Press posits him as the no.9 best, pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
In 2019, Freire – a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, signed a multi-year, multi-fight contract extension with Bellator. In his first fight, Freire faced Michael Chandler for the Bellator Lightweight world championship and became the second only fighter in the history of Bellator MMA, after Ryan Bader, to hold the two titles at the same time.
Patricio comes from a modest background, having endured many challenges while growing up. During his childhood, Patricio, with his seven siblings, used to share one bedroom of the Freire family’s two-bedroom apartment.
When Patricio was 5, his family suffered a bandit attack who entered through Pitbull’s bedroom window. The incident was especially traumatic. “It was a night of terror. I don’t think I will ever forget it,” he said. After his mom shot the bandit right between the eyes, the 5 year-old Patricio witnessed the bandit laid down with his head crumbled. This incident scaffolded the man in him, maturing him way beyond his years.
Patricio’s brother Patricky Freire (also nicknamed “Pitbull”), is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, also competes in Bellator’s lightweight division, currently sitting at no.1 in their lightweight rankings. He is tied with Douglas Lima and Michael “Venom” Page for the most knockout wins in Bellator history.
Patricio Pitbull himself made his professional MMA debut in 2004 at the age of just 16. In his teenage years, he was privileged to train alongside MMA notables Wanderlei Silva and Mauricio Rua. He achieved a clean record of 12-0 fighting in Brazilian MMA tournaments.
His credentials at Bellator are outstandingly numerous; he owns the record of Most Wins in Bellator History, Most Knockouts in Bellator Featherweight History, Most Wins in a Bellator Title Fight, Featherweight Tournament Winner and the list goes on…
Freire’s first reign as the Featherweight Champion began in 2014 after he defeated Pat Curran on June 6, 2014 at Bellator 121. Recently however, although Pitbull lost his featherweight championship in his last bout against AJ McKee Jr., assuredly his tenacity and his bite shall see him prevail.
So now you’ve got a snapshot on the backstory of this accomplished featherweight and lightweight fighter, let’s get into Patricio Pitbull’s Top 5 MMA Finishes! (in descending order)
5. Vs. Emmanuel Sanchez – Bellator 209 (Nov. 15, 2018)
The defending two-time, Bellator Featherweight Champion, Pitbull clashed with American fighter, Emmanuel Sanchez for the title with the bout taking place in Tel Aviv, Israel. Pitbull was eager to make this his third consecutive victory in Bellator MMA.
In round 1, moving back and forth in the ring, Patricio surrounded his opponent like a dark shadow, planning things smart in order to hijack Sanchez’s moves.
Sanchez went in for a low kick that mistakenly caught Freire in the groin leading to a minute’s stoppage by the referee. At 1:20, Pitbull prowled the cage and started to step up the momentum, punishing Sanchez with a big right hand straight to the face.
Sanchez got the better hold of his opponent at 3:45, with a fierce right hand on Pitbull who somewhat crumbles to the mat. Pitbull pushes back with a right hand to keep his opponent at bay and de-escalate any overt dominance. Now Sanchez brutally attacks with elbows while mistiming a kick on Pitbull.
Round 2 saw Sanchez explode with thunderous kicks on Pitbull. Unperturbed, and waiting for the right moment, Pitbull shoots forth a ringing right hand to Sanchez’s head causing a deep cut below his eye. In addition, Pitbull ruthlessly rained upon Sanchez with heavy, left-right striking.
Storming Sanchez into the corner, Pitbull throws him to the floor with a sudden double leg takedown. Pitbull exhausts Sanchez with his body weight and sharp elbows to the face. With each passing round, Pitbull’s renowned vigour was becoming more apparent and reliably…astonishing.
In round 4, Pitbull dominated with hard-hitting takedowns and a vicious assault.
In round 5, at 30 seconds in, Pitbull, with all guns blazing, manhandles Sanchez with mighty, heavy knees to the body whilst throwing him all around the cage at will.
Finally, round 5 ends. After the judges score the bout, the referee holds Pitbull’s hand high as he wins the match via unanimous, round 5 decision to successfully retain his Bellator Featherweight Championship.
4. Vs. Pedro Carvalho – Bellator 252 (Nov. 12, 2020)
This was the quarter-final of the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix where Patricio Pitbull was pitted against Pedro “The Game” Carvalho with the featherweight title on the line.
In round 1, Pedro quickly dominates the center by pushing the champion back towards the cage. Pitbull banks on the left side of the cage whilst keeping his gaze frozen on his rival.
At 0:30 in, Pitbull strikes Pedro with a left hook, and as Pedro attempts to close in, he gets blasted with another resounding right shot from the champion.
All set for a guillotine, Pitbull closes in for the finish. Having the height advantage, Pedro cleverly pivots on his feet to free himself from the fetters of the choke.
In the same round, at 2:10, a ringing right hand by Pitbull reduces Pedro to rubble as he collapses to the ground whereupon referee Mike Beltran interferes to call game over. Patricio won the match via right cross punch K.O.
In the post-fight press conference, Pitbull asserted that he is the no.1 Featherweight Champion not only in Bellator, but in the world!
3. Vs Michael Chandler – Bellator 221 (May 11, 2019)
Before the fight, a war of words crossed all limits as Pitbull furiously said that he would ‘kill’ Michael Chandler after the Lightweight Champion defeated his brother and bad-mouthed his family. “Now he is going to pay!”, said a red-hot Pitbull.
Patricio was moving up in the weight division to fight the best in the business: Michael “Iron” Chandler.
Pitbull, in blue gloves took center position moving straight towards Chandler like a ravenous wolf. Marking his position and stance, Pitbull intimidates Chandler with a right-hand jab making Chandler leap back.
At 0:43 into round 1, Chandler throws a quick left jab to Pitbull’s eye. Pitbull holds his nerve and moves back and forth as though driving momentum, locking and loading ammunition into his fists!
Pitbull executes a heavy right jab to Chandler’s head which knocks him out, as he proceeds to ransack him with brutal ground and pound. Referee Rob Madrigal pushes Pitbull back at 1:01 of round 1, as he becomes the second only fighter in Bellator MMA’s history to hold two titles at once.
In the post-match interview when he was questioned about the referee’s interference Pitbull gave a sarcastic replying saying, “He was not sleeping. I did my job and sorry I don’t give a f@#k!” The Bellator Featherweight Champion now walked off with another Bellator (Lightweight) Championship.
2. Vs. Daniel Straus – Bellator 178 (April 21, 2017)
Pitbull got his rematch against Straus, who dethroned him in the last fight at Bellator 145. for the featherweight title. This was the fourth time the featherweights crossed paths. Pitbull was ahead with 2 wins and a loss against the Bellator Featherweight Champion, Daniel Straus.
In round 1, a big, precision shot by Pitbull came within starting moments of the fight.
Hopping back and forth, Pitbull fires off another clinical jab to the face of the American fighter at 1:23.
Then, Straus continued to trace the steps of the challenger to present Pitbull with a searing low kick that nearly took the Achilles tendon off of Pitbull’s heels!
Pitbull struck and Straus swang wild. At 2:50 in, a bloodthirsty Straus again marched to attack with a furious left hand on Pitbull who ducked leading to strenuous grappling at the side of the cage.
In round 2, Straus wasted no time drawing Pitbull into a takedown, which was reversed. Pitbull cranked up the attack with a guillotine choke as referee Dan Miragliotta hurriedly breaks the hold at 0:37 of round 2.
Pitbull becomes crowned the new Bellator Featherweight Champion, winning the match via guillotine choke submission.
This match was ranked as the 47th Best MMA Submission of the Year, 2017. After the bout, Pitbull called out Daniel Weichel to get ready for their fight.
1. Vs. Daniel Weichel – Bellator 138 (June 19, 2015)
The Bellator Featherweight Championship was on the line as Pitbull defended his championship for the second time against the German bred fighter, Daniel Weichel after dethroning Pat Curran at Bellator 123.
At 1:05 into round 1, Pitbull clenched his fists and threw a powerful left hook. A tactical Pitbull now unsettles his opponent as he drives and lunges forward to intimidate and warn his opponent of an impending attack.
Weichel then wickedly steps up the intensity to the extreme and at 2:00 into round 1, hits Pitbull with a huge right hand and takes a wild run chasing down his opponent. Weichel gets the takedown and lets Pitbull rise back to his feet.
Now pumped up, Weichel clamps down on Pitbull with merciless striking; hard-hitting knees and lightning quick punches as the referee interferes right on the buzzer.
Going into round 2, Pitbull showed lots of heart, as Weichel fired jabs and knees to his head – Pitbull was overpowered from all four corners from the very start of the round by the mighty German bomber.
However, at 0:32 in, Weichel gets a taste of his own medicine as Pitbull levies a sinister left hook straight to a sensitive spot on his adversary’s face, as he takes a free fall and lays flat on the canvas. Game over…Pitbull wins the match via K.O.
This fight is ranked the 64th Greatest Comeback of all time; the 99th Greatest Featherweight MMA Fight of all time; the 36th Best MMA Fight of the Year 2015, as well as the 29th Best MMA Knockout of the Year, 2015.