Bellator lightweight contender Patricky Freire is on a mission to reclaim his lost title and create a historic ending to his career as he eyes a potential rematch with Usman Nurmagomedov in the grand prix final.
Last November, Freire suffered a tough defeat, surrendering his lightweight championship to the undefeated Nurmagomedov at Bellator 288. Now, to reclaim his throne, the Brazilian fighter must navigate through the grand prix tournament.
Nurmagomedov, coming off a victory over Benson Henderson in the opening round, is set to face Brent Primus in the semifinals. Should both fighters advance to the final, the 37-year-old Freire sees the opportunity to make history and possibly cap off his career.
“It’s a good fight to make history," Freire expressed to MMA Junkie Radio regarding a potential rematch with Nurmagomedov. "Take my belt again, take $1 million, maybe finish my career, I don’t know. Let’s see.”
But before reaching the final, Freire must focus on his opening-round battle against A.J. McKee at Bellator X Rizin 2 on July 30, near Tokyo. The winner of this clash will face Alexandr Shabliy, who secured a TKO victory against Tofiq Musayev to secure his spot in the semifinals.
Keeping a keen eye on his brother Patricio's bouts with McKee, Freire is confident that he knows what to expect from the skilled lightweight. While McKee has moved up from featherweight, Freire doesn't anticipate any major changes in his approach.
“He don’t change nothing," Freire stated. "He fights the same style. Maybe he tried to change something, but I don’t believe too much.”
With the potential of facing his conqueror Nurmagomedov in the grand prix final, Freire has a chance for redemption, to reclaim his title, and possibly bid farewell to his illustrious career on a triumphant note.