Roger Huerta certainly doesn’t seem to mind facing some of the best Bellator has to offer.
Huerta, the longtime MMA veteran, will step in on short notice to fight Patricky Freire at Bellator 205 on Sept. 21 in Boise, Idaho, officials confirmed with MMA Fighting on Friday night. ESPN was the first to report the news and that Freire’s initial opponent, Goiti Yamauchi, withdrew due to injury.
Huerta (24-10-1, 1 NC) made his return to a United States promotion after seven years away against Benson Henderson at Bellator 196 in April, falling by second-round submission. This fight against Freire will mark Huerta’s first fight in the U.S. since 2011. Huerta, 35, is perhaps best known for being the first MMA fighter to ever appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated, back during his run with the UFC in 2007.
Friere (19-8) has won three straight and is closing in on another shot at the Bellator lightweight title. “Pitbull” is coming off a first-round TKO victory over Derek Campos at Bellator 194 in February. Freire, 32, has lost just once in his last six fights and that came against top Bellator 155-pounder Michael Chandler.
Bellator 205 was set to be headlined by a featherweight bout between former champion Pat Curran and rising prospect AJ McKee, but Curran is injured and Bellator is seeking a replacement, officials confirmed.