Patricio Pitbull walked out of Bellator 221 as a double champ, but his defeat of Michael Chandler was not without its controversy.
The main event of Bellator 221 in Chicago saw the biggest grudge match the promotion had put together since Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva. And while the animosity between Michael Chandler and Patricio Pitbull was perhaps more one-sided (Chandler seemed to ignore most of the barbs sent his way), it was set to be a far more relevant, competitive contest than those two former UFC stars.
Chandler was the promotion’s poster-boy, a three-time and current lightweight champion. Pitbull was another homegrown talent, the reigning featherweight champ, and tied with Chandler for most wins in the promotion.
Coming into the fight, Pitbull swore that a second title was less important than getting his hands on Chandler.
Surprisingly, the pair touched gloves during the pre-fight instructions from the ref. Once the bell sounded, however, it was all business. Patricio took the center of the cage early. Chandler flashed a front kick. Chandler was clipped early, and went down! Pitbull was on him, and the ref almost immediately intervened. Chandler had been covering up, with Pitbull landing a few more punches. As the ref separated them, Chandler was already getting back up. Pitbull landed at least one blow to the back of the head while the ref was breaking them up, despite the fight being over. Patricio Pitbull had his vengeance, and the stage was set for a rematch.
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A belligerent Pitbull said afterward that he didn’t “give a f*ck” about the reaction in the arena. He wouldn’t commit to defending the belt, or vacating. Chandler, meanwhile, gave his take. “It was an overhand right. I saw it, I remember it. Obviously I went to the ground. I had my wits about me.”
“I’ve had fights like this where I’ve won, and people thought it was fast,” he admitted. Now, he’s had one go the other way. But he’s not making excuses. “Patricio Pitbull put me down. I’m not going to dispute that.”
Patricio Pitbull def. Michael Chandler by knockout, Round 1, 1:01