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No fighter has accomplished more under the Bellator MMA flag than Patricio “Pitbull” Freire.
The 31-year-old Brazilian will put his featherweight title on the line against Emmanuel Sanchez in the Bellator 209 headliner on Thursday at the Menora Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv, Israel. Freire enters the match on the strength of back-to-back victories, the latest resulting in a split decision over Daniel Weichel at Bellator 203 on July 14. The 5-foot-6, 145-pound dynamo has compiled a 15-4 record in 19 appearances since joining the Bellator roster in 2010.
As Freire approaches his five-round battle with Roufusport’s Sanchez, here are five things you should know about him:
1. He holds a prominent place in Bellator history.
Freire owns organizational records for most wins (15) and most finishes (10). He made his promotional debut at Bellator 15 on April 22, 2010, submitting Will Romero with a first-round heel hook.
2. Consistency has been a hallmark throughout his career.
A professional mixed martial artist since 2004, Freire has never suffered back-to-back defeats. He has put together two-, three-, seven- and 14-fight winning streaks.
3. Few have solved his riddle.
Only four men have defeated Freire in his 31-fight career: Benson Henderson, Pat Curran, Daniel Straus, and Joe Warren. They sport a cumulative record of 88-30 (.746), and all four have won either Bellator or Ultimate Fighting Championship titles.
4. Opponents often meet violent ends against him.
Freire has delivered 20 of his 27 pro victories by knockout, technical knockout, or submission, with nearly half (nine) of them having concluded inside one round. His long list of victims includes Straus, former EliteXC champion Wilson Reis, onetime World Series of Fighting titleholder Georgi Karakhanyan and UFC veteran Diego Nunes.
5. He excels away from American influence.
“Pitbull” owns a perfect 13-0 record in fights that have taken place outside of the United States. Twelve of those bouts went down in his native Brazil, the other in Italy.