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Patricio Freire: ‘Bellator promised me’ title shot with win

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Patricio Freire wants to regain the Bellator featherweight belt, but first he needs to get past Henry Corrales.

Freire’s life became a rollercoaster last November, when he lost the 145-pound title in a rematch with Daniel Straus. "Pitbull" wanted to avenge the loss and get the belt back, and claims that Bellator was willing to make a fourth between them bout right away, but the champion was forced to be on the sidelines.

"I was going to fight Straus now," Freire told MMA Fighting, "but he had a hand surgery and it went wrong, so he had to do another surgery. That’s why they gave me John Teixeira."

Freire vs. Teixeira was booked as the co-main event of Bellator 153, which takes place Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville. Days before the fight, a broken rib forced Teixeira to pull out, and Corrales took the fight on short notice.

"Some fighters don’t like to have their opponents changed on short notice," said the Brazilian. "It really is a complicated situation because you prepared for someone for months, for a fighting style, and then the fight is off, but it’s part of the job. It’s natural, that’s why we train every aspect of MMA. I feel comfortable. I just want to get the job done and put on a good fight."

Teixeira was undefeated in his last eight bouts with three wins under the Bellator banner. Corrales, on the other hand, enters the fight coming off back-to-back losses to Straus and Emmanuel Sanchez.

"Their styles are similar," Freire said of Teixeira and Corrales. "(Teixeira) is a bit more dangerous because he connects his punches better, but it’s similar. Sometimes they throw too many punches, they are a bit reckless despite being top fighters, so I will take the opportunities to finish him before the third round."

"Pitbull" finished eight of his 12 wins inside the Bellator cage, and doesn’t see his clash with Corrales going 15 minutes.

"(Corrales) is well-rounded. The fight starts standing so I will feel the distance and connect some blows," he said. "If I feel that the best way of winning this standing, I will try to knock him out. I just want to finish the fight as soon as possible. I want to come out victorious and move on to the title fight that Bellator promised me."

As of his next step, Freire plans to sit and wait for Straus to return to action.

"He won’t come back anytime soon," said the former champion. "He did a surgery recently, a complicated surgery, has to put the bone back in the right place, and will take a while before he starts physical therapy and return to training. I think he will come back to the cage in six months, and he already knows who he’s fighting."

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