“On this evening, he used to be nice,” Freire acknowledged Saturday evening in his post-fight press conference. “He kicked my head and he nearly knocked me out and he nearly completed me on the same evening, so he used to be unbiased correct. Congratulations. Now he’s the champion.”
Freire misplaced to McKee by technical submission less than two minutes into the foremost spherical within the blockbuster finals of Bellator’s featherweight big prix. McKee first downed Freire with a head kick before ending Freire off with a guillotine choke to acquire the $1 million big prize alongside with the Bellator featherweight title.
Freire never tapped to McKee’s submission, nonetheless referee Mike Beltran stopped the action true seconds after McKee instantaneous Beltran that Freire used to be unconscious. Freire within the initiating protested the stoppage inner the cage, however after staring on the replay, he indicated that he used to be animated to settle for Beltran’s choice, even though he didn’t basically love it.
“I watched the fight. I knew I wasn’t asleep, however I seen my fingers [start to drop],” Freire acknowledged. “I used to be standing, however that’s it. A fighter desires to fight till the conclude. That’s my suggestions.”
The loss marked an conclude to a seven-fight acquire scramble that stretched aid 2016 for Freire, to boot to being the foremost time in Freire’s 17-yr career that the Brazilian has been completed.
Heading into Bellator 263, “Pitbull” used to be widely concept to be to be the finest fighter in Bellator history to boot to the promotion’s most decorated champion. He composed holds recordsdata for basically the most wins (20), fights (24), title bouts (12), title wins (10), and finishes in Bellator history (13), and indicated that his loss to McKee would handiest make him greater within the long drag.
“I am repeatedly motivated. My debut used to be in 2004, and now I acquire quite just a few years struggling with and dedicating myself to this sport, and I am hungry every time,” Freire acknowledged.
“I spent quite just a few years with out being defeated, and right now is a up to date day for me. It’s a assorted sort of feeling, and I are looking out to relaxation a dinky bit, acquire pleasure from my son, my wife. However I will reach aid stronger. I do know that. Every person says that after they acquire a defeat, however I am assorted.”
Happily, Freire will doubtless acquire his likelihood at revenge.
Despite the loss, the 34-yr-aged stays the Bellator light-weight champion — and with McKee already angling for a rematch at 155 kilos with Freire’s assorted belt on the motorway, it appears to be like as if the seeds are already being planted for spherical two between the two rivals.
“Sooner than the fight I feel he instantaneous any individual one thing love this, and it’s a legit thing,” Freire acknowledged. “He beat me within the featherweight division. I do know he’s gigantic, he has danger cutting weight. And let’s have confidence it. I acquire a belt. I’m composed an world champion.”
If the rematch does occur at 155 kilos, Freire’s team made true one search info from.
Bellator 263 took location in McKee’s home city of Los Angeles and the crowd assembled at The Forum on Saturday evening used to be largely within the aid of McKee. For a doable second fight, Freire’s team merely hopes that opt is more doubtless to be repaid to their facet as properly.
“If we conclude one thing love that, this time I’d love it to be in Brazil,” acknowledged Freire’s head coach Eric Albarracin. “This man’s been here for 10 years, double champ-champ, winningest fighter in Bellator history, most title defenses. Why are we struggling with in Los Angeles? He’s the champ-champ. We’re struggling with within the challenger’s fatherland? Mountainous, he acquired, give all of it to him — he slept in his hold mattress, his dad’s a sage here, born and raised here, he’s born and raised here, 99 p.c of the fans cheering for A.J., we’re in his home. Yet [Freire] is double champ-champ? Mountainous, he acquired. Let’s conclude it in Brazil next. For one time, ship it to Brazil for the champ.
“Sixteen games within the NFL are played to acquire a home self-discipline advantage, 180 in baseball,” Albarracin persisted. “He’s the arena champ-champ. You search info from a warrior, ‘Hi there, where you are looking out to fight?’ They impart anywhere, any time. However clearly no longer within the dwelling city of the challenger, giving him the entire advantages — the youth, the diversity, the reach, and then throw the entire home self-discipline advantage, where he’s sleeping and practising in his hold gymnasium. We traveled 36 hours to acquire here. Let’s switch it up one time.”
Albarracin’s proposal ultimately drew a smile and a nod of approval from Freire.
“That’s why he’s my coach,” Freire acknowledged. “I would favor any individual love him. He’s correct, I agree.”