When Patricio Pitbull selected Pedro Carvalho as the next man to fight for the featherweight title, he turned more than a few heads. For a number of reasons. With something akin to a wildcard pick at the “Selection Show” for the Bellator featherweight grand prix, Patricio opted to put his title on the line against the SBG Ireland fighter.
Not A.J. McKee or Darrion Caldwell, bigger names who had been chasing him for the title shot. Instead, he went after the soft-spoken Portuguese fighter. While claiming Carvalho had a big mouth, that Pitbull would be happy to shut.
The pair were supposed to face off in March. The coronavirus pandemic then put the grand prix in limbo. It finally gets back underway this week, with Pitbull (properly Patricio Freire) vs. Carvalho leading the way.
Given the lack of trash talk from Carvalho, who tends to do his talking in the cage, Patricio Freire’s comments raised more eyebrows than his choice of opponent. Carvalho finally got a chance to explain them during the Bellator 252 media day this week. Or at least give his opinion on what he sees as the champ’s victim complex.
“I’ll tell you what [he] means by that: Patricio Pitbull likes to victimize himself. That’s what he likes to do,” Carvalho told media outlets including Cageside Press. “Every time he has an opponent, at least in my experience, he always says these things. ‘I speak a lot,’ this and that. So I look the bad guy, and he’s like the humble hero who comes and puts the villain away. That’s it.”
Carvalho, of course, sees the Brazilian, who also holds Bellator’s lightweight title, as anything but a hero. “He’s just a big baby that tries to victimize himself so he gets the credit of, I don’t know what. I don’t care what,” stated Carvalho. All that matters 25-year old, he said, was finally getting locked in the cage with Freire. “There’s no heroes, no villains, nothing. There’s only me in front of him.”
Arriving at a title shot in a major promotion by the age of 25 is no small feat. Carvalho will have accomplished that on Thursday, the fight against Pitbull a huge opportunity. And something he always believed would come early.
“Not only did I dream it, I saw it. Not exactly at 25, but at a young age,” Carvalho told Cageside Press. “Everything I do, I make sure I do it right, and I make sure I’m improving, I make sure that I’m the best version, week after week, month after month, of myself. I knew that if I could just keep working hard and believe in myself, I just needed one chance. And after once chance, things would go naturally.”
The chance that he needed, added Carvalho, was the one-fight contract against Daniel Crawford that opened his Bellator career. “I knew after that, it would be a matter of time.”
Watch the full Bellator 252 virtual media day press scrum with Pedro Carvalho above. The event takes place this Thursday, November 12 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT, with the main card airing live on CBS Sports Network.