Patricio Freire, better known as Patricio Pitbull, retained his title Saturday at Bellator 203 in Rome, Italy, where the 145lb champ fended off a game Daniel Weichel for the second time.
The second of Bellator’s back-to-back cards went down Saturday in Rome, Italy, airing via tape delay on Paramount Network. In the main event, Daniel Wichel got a second crack at Patricio Freire, with the featherweight title on the line.
Weichel was looking to avoid the pitfalls of the pair’s first meeting. Early on, he switched stances fluidly — but so did Patricio Pitbull. With the two seemingly mirroring one another, the featherweights went through a feeling out process. Weichel threw out a couple of leg kicks, but was careful not to over-commit. Pitbull moved in for a combo that was easily escaped; he’d throw in a leg kick of his own a little later. Weichel looked to lead with his jab, but had yet to find his range. While the crowd would grow restless with the perceived lack of action, Pitbull would throw out a spinning kick from the southpaw stance.
In the second, another slow start, but this time things opened up. Weichel connected first, catching the champion. Pitbull then returned fire, rocking the challenger! They’d go to the ground, with Weichel on bottom, but at the very least, it would allow him to recover. Weichel switched to butterfly guard, and Freire wasn’t able to make much happen. He backed off then, allowed the challenger back to his feet.
Round three saw more ground game between Pitbull and Weichel. This time, it was the challenger getting some top time, after Freire controlled early. Weichel would work his way to half guard, but while the grappling exchanges demonstrated the skill of both men, neither were doing much in the way of damage, nor were they able to find a submission to attempt a finish. It wasn’t til the final minute that they made it back to their feet, getting the hands going just a little.
In the first of the championship rounds, the pair once again looked to find an opening on the feet. Pitbull was still moving to southpaw now and then, but was having more success in the orthodox stance. Weichel attacked the champion’s lead leg, but was struggling to get his hands going. Pitbull did not have that problem, and began unloading on Weichel with roughly ninety seconds left in the round! Weichel went to the ground, on his back, trying to escape the firefight, but he briefly allowed Pitbull to gain full mount. Weichel was bloodied, thanks to an elbow in the previous attack, but he managed to force Pitbull back to half guard. Weichel would make it back up and survive the round, meaning they’d see the fifth and final round.
Weichel was looking to press the action to start the fifth, walking down Pitbull. Yet both men were tired, had slowed a bit, and Weichel, hurt in the fourth, simply didn’t have enough left in him in the fifth. He’d find himself reversed when clinching, out-struck when striking, and in the end, Pitbull retained his title.
Patricio Freire def. Daniel Weichel by split decision (49-46, 47-48, 48-47)