Once Eddie Alvarez became a free agent, he wanted to leave Bellator and become a UFC fighter, but Patricio "Pitbull" Freire believes that was a "stupid" decision.
"Pitbull," who was the Bellator Season 4 featherweight tournament winner, criticized Alvarez for filing lawsuits against Bellator, saying that his life in the UFC wouldn’t be as good as it was in Bjorn Rebney’s promotion.
Bellator announced on Tuesday that it had reached an agreement with Alvarez and he was set to rematch lightweight champion Michael Chandler on Nov. 2, at Bellator’s first pay-per-view event.
"He was stupid for fighting for so long, but maybe he got a good deal with that, and now he’s fighting on a pay-per-view card against the champion," Freire said of Alvarez to MMAFighting.com. "I’m glad he will stay at Bellator, now my brother (Patricky Freire) has an opportunity to beat him."
On their first encounter, Chandler finished Alvarez in a "Fight of the Year" candidate, but Freire didn’t see the fight as a "war".
"He will lose to Chandler again," he said. "Alvarez got beat for four rounds. Chandler completely dominated him, knocked him down and submitted. Alvarez has better hands, but Chandler doesn’t get tired and is more explosive. Chandler is the favorite and will retain the title. In my opinion, he and (Gilbert) Melendez are the best lightweights on the planet."
Some would say that Alvarez’s potential move to the UFC was a search for better competition, and Freire would disagree -- again.
"I know that UFC doesn’t have the best fighters, especially in the lighter weight classes," he said. "Bellator has the toughest competition in MMA. I’m going to tell you one name: (Shahbulat) Shamhalaev. This guy has three knockouts in Bellator and only lost to the champion. Marlon Sandro, Daniel Straus… Being in the UFC doesn’t mean you’re the best. UFC is tough too, but Bellator is tougher.
"I feel great, and I want to stay here for years. They treat me like family, pays me well, listen to what I have to say, try to make things the way I prefer. Bellator already is the second-biggest MMA organization in the world, and it’s only getting bigger. Bellator is a safe place to be, a company that cares about you. In the UFC, they can simply cut you if you have one win and one loss," said Freire.
Coming off a big TKO victory over Jared Downing at Bellator 97, "Pitbull" returns to the cage on Sept. 13, at Bellator 99, against UFC veteran Diego Nunes. The winner advances to the semifinals of Season 9’s 145-pound tournament, and Freire isn’t expecting an easy bout.
"As soon as Diego signed with Bellator, I knew they would match us," he said. "I signed the contract to fight Diego a long time ago, but my focus was on Downing. I’m used to fighting a lot, but I wasn’t thinking about Diego before my last fight, and now I feel more prepared. He’s really tough. The way UFC released him was unexplainable. He lost to Nik Lentz, a guy that I believe will fight for the title one day, and all of his losses came by decision. It’s going to be a great fight."
Only two of Patricio’s six victories under the Bellator banner have come by decision, and he has no intentions to fight Nunes for 15 minutes.
"After I lost (to Pat Curran) by split decision, I realized I have to finish all my opponents," Freire said. "That’s my mentality now. I'm going for the knockout, but if the fight goes to the ground, I will try to finish him."