Bantamweight champion Sergio Pettis is gearing up for a colossal showdown at Bellator 297, where he will defend his title against featherweight champ Patricio Freire in a highly anticipated co-main event on June 16.
However, Pettis has his eyes set on more than just a successful title defense. With Bellator recently introducing the flyweight division, Pettis is open to the possibility of returning to 125 pounds and capturing a second championship.
Pettis boasts an impressive record of 22 wins and 5 losses, with a notable run in the UFC's flyweight division. During his time there, he secured victories over the likes of Joseph Benavidez, a multiple-time title challenger, and the current 125-pound champion, Brandon Moreno. Although dropping down to flyweight poses its challenges, Pettis is willing to embrace the weight cut if a significant opportunity arises.
“Definitely something I’m interested in,” Pettis told MMA Junkie Radio. “Obviously to have that champ-champ status, but man, that cut to 125 is not fun for anybody. The older I’m getting, I’m like, ‘Man, I don’t know if I really see myself going back down.’ If it made sense and the opportunity presented itself, the competitor in me and the ego in me would be like definitely could make it. But how I feel at 135 is a lot different than how I feel at 125.”
Meanwhile, his upcoming opponent, Patricio "Pitbull" Freire, a former lightweight champion, and the current featherweight title holder, aims to add yet another accolade to his illustrious career. Stepping into the 135-pound weight class for the first time, Freire will test his skills against Pettis.
Given his experience competing in two different weight divisions, Pettis believes that the additional ten pounds Freire needs to cut might affect his performance in the fight.
“It’s definitely interesting,” Pettis said. “I fought at 125, so I know the difference of how I felt at 135 to 125. That extra 10 pounds makes a hell of a difference. He’s getting older. I did it at a younger age – he’s older – so we’ll see how his body adjusts. We’ll see if he’s as durable.”
Bellator, recognizing the potential for a thrilling match-up, has orchestrated a fight card that promises excitement for fans. The promotion will crown its inaugural flyweight champion at Bellator x Rizin 2 on July 30 when Kyoji Horiguchi takes on Makoto Takahashi. Pettis undoubtedly has his eyes on the outcome of this clash, as it could determine his future move to the flyweight division.
As the date for Bellator 297 approaches, fans eagerly anticipate the clash between Pettis and Freire, recognizing the stakes and the potential for a dramatic twist in Pettis' career. Will Pettis successfully defend his bantamweight title, or will Freire's jump to a new weight class prove to be a game-changer? One thing is for certain: the world of Bellator is buzzing with anticipation as these two elite fighters prepare to clash in the octagon.