Bellator featherweight title holder Pat Curran (left) will defend his belt against Patricio (Pitbull) Freire at Bellator 85 on Thursday. (Getty Images/Files)
It’s been a long road for Patricio (Pitbull) Freire.
The talented Muay Thai striker and Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt tore through the Bellator Season 4 tournament, culminating in a unanimous-decision victory over Daniel Straus on May 21, 2011.
With the win, Freire cemented his spot as No. 1 contender for then-featherweight champion Joe Warren, who won a controversial split decision in their first encounter.
But it has been one setback after another for Freire, who hasn’t stepped inside the Bellator cage since besting Straus.
He was expected to challenge Warren on the promotion’s first Canadian card, Bellator 47 in Rama, Ont., two months later, but was sidelined due to a broken left hand.
With Freire unable to compete, 2011 Summer Series tourney winner Pat Curran was awarded the next shot. Curran made the best of his opportunity, handing Warren a vicious beating at Bellator 60 last March to capture the belt.