It’ll be a battle between perhaps the two most significant fighters in Bellator history.
Michael Chandler vs. Patricio Freire is slated for Bellator 221 on May 11 in Rosemont, Ill., sources confirmed Thursday with MMA Fighting. Chandler will put his lightweight title on the line against “Pitbull,” the featherweight champion, moving up in a true superfight. And one that has been building for some time between the two sides.
The fight was first reported by ESPN. Bellator has yet to officially announce the matchup.
Chandler (19-4) is a three-time Bellator lightweight champion. The Missouri native won back the belt by beating Brent Primus via unanimous decision in December. Chandler has won seven of his last eight fights, including a knockout of Freire’s brother Patricky in 2016. Chandler has beaten Patricky twice, which, combined with some harsh words exchanged, has led to heat on both sides.
Freire (28-4) is a two-time Bellator featherweight champion. His current reign stretches back to a win over Daniel Straus in 2017. “Pitbull,” 31, has won three in a row and is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Emmanuel Sanchez back in November. The Brazilian has won 11 of his last 13 fights.
Chandler has been with Bellator since 2010, his fourth career fight. “Pitbull” started with the promotion in the same year, five months earlier. The two men have been part of the nucleus of Bellator from almost the very beginning of business.