Patricio Pitbull retained his featherweight title in stunning fashion at Bellator 252 on Thursday night, flooring challenger Pedro Carvalho within a round. The knockout victory will see Pitbull move on in the featherweight grand prix, where a semifinal date with Emmanuel Sanchez awaits.
Of course, when that comes is a bit up in the air. Bellator CEO Scott Coker has previously suggested the tournament might not wrap up until sometime next Spring. If Pitbull (Patricio Freire) gets his way, however, the end will come sooner.
“I think it’s better for everyone to finish this grand prix. It’s a long time waiting for that,” he told Cageside Press following his most recent title defense on Thursday. Uninjured, Pitbull is hoping to fight again soon. That may rest, however, on scheduling. And on Sanchez, who went the distance against Daniel Weichel in a five-round grand prix quarterfinal fight.
Of course, the delay in the tournament, in part due to the coronavirus pandemic, has completely stalled the Bellator lightweight division. Pitbull won the 155lb belt in May 2019 by knocking out Michael Chandler. Over a year later, he has yet to defend it.
Asked about his plans for his other title, the double-champ replied “I really don’t know now. I need to talk with my boss.” That, of course, would be Coker.
If the featherweight grand prix does drag on to Spring, and Pitbull makes it to the finale, it could very well be two years or more before Bellator’s 155lb belt is defended. No small travesty, in a division that was once the promotion’s premiere weight class. One where Patricio’s own brother, Patricky, competes.
These days, that standout division seems to be featherweight. Where Pitbull claims to be the best. In or out of the promotion. “I’m not the best featherweight in Bellator. I’m the best featherweight in the world,” he boasted following win #31. “No other featherweight has my hands. I’m complete.”
“Now I have 11 knockouts and 11 submissions. There’s no other featherweight in the world that’s as complete as I am,” Pitbull added.
He’s certainly been making his case.
Watch the full Bellator 252 post-fight press scrum with Patricio Pitbull above.