Brothers fight. It’s a tradition as old as time itself. One minute, you may be joking around with your brother. The next minute, you’re trying to pummel each other senseless.
In a way, that might describe Bellator MMA lightweight Patricky “Pitbull” Freire’s relationship with his brother, Patricio. The brothers share many things — similar first names, the same nickname and a passion to compete at the highest level in mixed martial arts. That passion manifested itself in a childhood marked by the Freire brothers showing their closeness in their own unique way.
“We played around and fought a lot growing up,” Patricky told Combat Press. “Sometimes we would fight for no reason. But we’re always close and take care of each other and help each other, and we had our parents to look after us growing up. Now, we’re together daily at the gym and he brings his family to my house or I take mine to his house. We’re always talking about the future.”
Although the Freire brothers share that deep bond that only siblings who are close in age can experience, which can sometimes manifest itself in fisticuffs, Patricky doesn’t see a special “Brother vs. Brother” bout between himself and Patricio coming to a Bellator card near you.
“We’ve talked about it a few times, but I don’t see it happening and it’s not on my mind,” Patricky said of a possible fight between himself and his brother. Patricky also insisted that retribution is not on his mind when he faces Benson Henderson at Bellator 183 on Saturday, Sept. 23, in an important lightweight bout.
Henderson defeated Patricio last year. Patricio suffered a shin injury in the second round, after appearing to get the best of Henderson in the first frame. Although the Freire brothers were bitterly disappointed with the outcome, Patricky didn’t take his brother’s loss personally.
“[Henderson] was very respectful and polite toward us, so there’s no bad feelings for me coming into this fight,” Patricky said, “but it will still be a special feeling to win this fight. I’m going to frustrate him wherever the fight goes, and I’ll look to finish him.”
Patricky rebounded from his loss to former Bellator MMA lightweight champion Michael Chandler for the title last year by scoring a second-round knockout of Josh Thomson in February. He believes a victory over Henderson puts him right back in the lightweight title picture, whether it results in a fight with current Bellator lightweight champion Brent Primus or the former champ Chandler, should Chandler receive a rematch first.
“I worked on a lot of things after my fight with Chandler,” Freire said. “I think I’m a much better fighter now than I was before, and it showed in my last fight. I think winning this fight gets me a title shot.”
Chandler knocked out Freire to win the lightweight title at Bellator’s second Dynamite card in 2016, but Freire is keeping the big picture in mind. He would pursue a championship before an opportunity at revenge.
“I would want to face Primus first,” Freire said. “We were supposed to fight before, but he pulled out. I think that would be a very good fight for the fans. Then I would want to finish my business with Chandler.”
Freire has been a part of Bellator since 2011. He has seen the organization evolve from its old tournament format under former president Bjorn Rebney to its current format, which focuses much more heavily on big fights that fans want to see, under company head Scott Coker.
“I’ve been fortunate to see Bellator grow,” Freire said. “The way Scott has handled the promotion has made sure it’s getting better going forward. This show on Saturday is going to be a great show, and my fight will be a great fight for the fans.”