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Patricky Freire credits karate coach for evolution, welcomes rematch with Michael Chandler

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Bellator 172 photos Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Patricky Freire stopped Josh Thomson at Bellator 172, earning his seventh knockout victory under the promotion’s banner on Feb. 18 in San Jose, Calif., and that’s exactly what he expected.

"It was a cool fight,” Freire told MMA Fighting after returning to Brazil. "I left the cage with no injuries. I was barely hit in the fight. I prepared for a war and didn’t even have to use some of the things we prepared. The fight ended in the second round with a knockout, as I predicted."

However, the end of the fight was a bit controversial, as Thomson and “Pitbull" clashed heads seconds before the finish, but the Brazilian doesn’t think it played a big factor in the knockout.

"To tell you the truth, I didn’t feel this clash of heads,” Freire said. "I thought it was weird because he closed the distance to throw a combination, I fired back, and he went down. I thought ‘sh*t, he’s already hurt.’ I thought he went down because of a punch.

"I only saw the clash of heads in the locker room. But he was the one who came in and hit his head. I didn’t move forward or throw my head at him. We clashed heads and then he came back up. That was not what ended the fight.”

Speaking of heads, Freire finally disclosed the injury that forced him to pull out of a lightweight bout with Derek Campos on Dec. 3.

"I had labyrinthitis,” “Pitbull" said. "I was scared. Every time I sparred, I got dizzy. I was afraid. At first, I thought the worst scenario possible. I thought it could be cancer, blood clot on my brain, and I started thinking about my career and my family. I did bold tests and MRI and got nothing, and then we found out it was labyrinthitis.”

"Feeling better now,” “Pitbull" hasn’t asked for a title shot after win. The Brazilian, who lost via first-round knockout to Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler back in June, is open to facing him one more time, but leaves the decision in Bellator president Scott Coker’s hands.

"I wasn’t thinking about it, I was focused on the fight. I don’t know what will happen now,” Freire said. "I haven't talked to them about it yet, and didn’t asked for this fight either. I leave it in their hands. The only thing that the president said is that Michael Chandler wouldn't stop calling and texting him asking for this fight. I told (Chandler) to shut up because that was my night.”

If he gets a second chance against Chandler, Freire celebrates the fact that he would have a full camp to prepare.

"I’ll be happy if it happens because that means I’ll have enough time to train,” he said. "Last time, I only had 30 days to train, and it's not easy to prepare for a title fight in 30 days. This time, if they give me the opportunity, I’ll be ready to fight him.”

Freire says he wouldn't change anything in the way he prepares for a second bout with Chandler, especially now that he’s training with karate coach Mano Santana. He wouldn’t fight the same way, though.

"I’ve been training with a karate coach and he’s giving me a different view about movement and distance,” the Brazilian said. "He showed me some things I was did wrong that led to that loss. I wouldn’t change anything in the way I train, but I would be more alert early in the fight because that’s when he’s more dangerous. He usually finishes his opponents in the first or second rounds, and then he gets slower, exposes himself and sometimes gets knocked out."