In a hard-fought contest that was arguably even heading into the fifth and final round, Patricio Pitbull retained his featherweight title against Emmanuel Sanchez at Bellator 209.
Bellator 209 went down Thursday night from the Menora Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv, Israel. Airing via tape delay on Friday, the main event for the night saw Patrício Freire defend his featherweight Championship against Emmanuel Sanchez. Sanchez came in hot on a four fight win streak, while Patricio Pitbull (as he’s better known) was looking for the second title defense of his second reign as 145lb champ.
This one turned out to be a hard-fought affair. Freire charged out to take center control early, and landed a solid right hand. Sanchez looked for a couple of high kicks that just missed. He threw another that just caught Freire low which brought a stop to the action for a moment. Action resumed and Freire landed another hard right hand but Sanchez continued to move forward. Sanchez landed his own solid left and then a hard right that looked to have hurt Freire. Pitbull fired back, then caught a kick from Sanchez that he held onto, landing a few more shots before breaking. Sanchez fired a high kick that just missed the mark followed by another that was followed up with a right as the round came to an end.
If the first round was any indicator, fans were in for a treat. Sanchez started the second by pressing forward, but Freire moved in and landed a solid combination and slid out of range. Sanchez answered with multiple body kicks. Freire utilized his lateral movement and landed another hard right hand. Sanchez continued to fire off body kicks and the occasional high kick, until again another low blow to Freire brought a stop the action. With time called to allow for recovery, a warning was given to Sanchez. Action then resumed with Sanchez opening with a leg kick that Freire answered with a staggering right hand that hurt Sanchez. Freire rushed in and went for guillotine. They ended up against the fence where Freire landed the take down and started to work from top. Sanchez worked back to his feet against the fence but Freire stuck to him and landed another take down and ended back on top of Sanchez to end the round.
Sanchez opened the third with a pair of high kicks and followed with a couple body kicks. Freire fired back with a combination, but Sanchez kept moving forward. By the end of the night, if nothing else, he’d certainly prove his toughness. Freire landed a combination of heavy shots on a pressing Sanchez that started with a hard right hand. Snachez backed up then moved forward again with a flurry of his own. Sanchez went back to leg kick, but they looked to have a little less on them now. The fight was taking its toll. Pitbull landed another hard right that pushed Sanchez back, but he was quick to recover and went back to working his kicks. Freire surprised with a flying knee on the advancing Sanchez, and followed with a take down. With time winding down in the round, Emmanuel Sanchez looked to land elbows from the bottom as Freire worked from the top until the bell sounded.
In round four, Sanchez came out fast and landed a take down. He worked from side control and looked to advance but Freire powered through him to his feet, lifted Sanchez into the air and slammed him to the ground. Freire worked from full guard and landed punches to the head and body. Sanchez fired back from the bottom and the two scrambled and got back to their feet. Sanchez continued to move forward and use his kicks. Sanchez landed a high kick followed by a nice left but Freire didn’t looked fazed. Sanchez landed another high kick, punch combination. Freire shot the take down but Sanchez defended and the two ended up in the clinch against the fence where Sanchez looked to use his knees as the round came to and end.
Sanchez opened the final frame with a hard combination that caught Freire, then the two men settled in until Freire landed a hard left hook that hurt Sanchez. Sanchez was rocked! ‘El Matador’ looked to hold on to Freire and recover they scrambled and Sanchez ended up on Freire’s back against the fence. However, he was too high and slid off. Sanchez worked to his feet and two started to work against the fence, with Freire landing an inside trip that allowed him to pass to full mount. Sanchez escaped but gave up his back before getting back to his feet. Freire stayed with him the whole way and again got the take down and started working from half guard as Shanchez worked back to his feet. For a moment, anyway, before Freire took him back to the mat again. Sanchez again got back to his feet and they worked against the fence;Sanchez landed a hard elbow before they broke. Sanchez threw a spinning heal kick that missed the mark and just missed on a lunging punch as the fight came to an end.
A hard-fought win, with Patricio Pitbull earning the victory. And putting up some impressive numbers in the process: 16 wins in Bellator, and 6 title fights, a promotional record for both. With names like Aaron Pico and A.J. McKee also in the weight class, there’s plenty of up-and-comers on his heels. Though Pitbull would be just as happy if Bellator attempted a featherweight grand prix.
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) November 17, 2018
Patrício Freire def. Emmanuel Sanchez by Unanimous Decision (48-46 48-47 48-47)