Former UFC and Bellator lightweight champion Alvarez became a free agent following his recent rematch with Dustin Poirier in July. “Pitbull”, who is currently scheduled to face veteran Roger Huerta on Sept. 21, told MMA Fighting he’s willing to welcome Alvarez back to the promotion if a title shot isn’t next for him after Bellator 205.
“I would like to give him back that knockout he gave me six years ago,” Freire said. “People still think UFC fighters are better than Bellator fighters, so Eddie Alvarez going there and winning the belt and coming back to Bellator would prove that this difference doesn’t exist. It’s all about marketing and the fact that the UFC is in the business for 25 years.”
If Alvarez in fact doesn’t re-sign with the UFC, he would leave the promotion with a 4-3 (and one no-contest) Octagon record with wins over Gilbert Melendez, Anthony Pettis, Rafael dos Anjos and Justin Gaethje.
“He always puts on great fights,” Freire said of Alvarez. “Eddie Alvarez is spectacular. You can never underestimate him. He has done great battles, was a champion in every promotion he competed for, so hats off to him. He never gives up and always puts on great fights, great wars.”
Since losing his UFC belt to Conor McGregor in 2016, Alvarez fought Poirier (their first meeting ending in a controversial no-contest), and then stopped Gaethje before losing to Poirier in their rematch.
“I think he jumped the gun a little bit against Conor, it seemed like he didn’t study Conor McGregor’s game,” Freire said. “Conor McGregor provokes you to throw your right hand and then he counters. Alvarez started to fade and lose the fight when he stopped kicking and Conor McGregor started to dominate him in the boxing exchange. He should have kept kicking.”
“It was an excellent fight against Gaethje,” he continued. “I think he could have finished him earlier if he had thrown that knee in the first round. Gaethje always drops his head too much, and Eddie Alvarez could have thrown that knee early in the fight.”
“It’s a good fight, for sure. I would be thrilled to have this opportunity,” Freire said. “It gives me extra motivation to finish the fight earlier, but in a smart way, just like I’ve been training and doing in my recent fights.
“I’ve evolved a lot over the past two years, imagine since we fought six years ago. I can box him, I can use my kicks, and I can also use a different style we’re adapting here at the gym. I haven’t showed that yet, but I will use it when time is right and show how efficient it is and knock him out.”