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Patricky Pitbull avoids surgery for injuries sustained at RIZIN 20, eyes May return to Bellator

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Patricky Pitbull battled through injuries to face Tofiq Musayev in the tournament final in Japan.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Patricky Freire’s trip to Japan was a costly one as the Bellator lightweight suffered multiple injuries during his tournament bouts with Luiz Gustavo and Tofiq Musayev on Dec. 31. The good news, however, is that “Pitbull” will avoid surgery.

Freire had a possible right hand fracture, sustained in his short semifinal bout, plus injuries to his left shoulder and right leg after falling off the ring in the tournament final.

The lightweight veteran consulted with his doctor on Thursday night in Natal, Brazil, and was informed that he only needs physical therapy and rest despite confirming that his hand is in fact broken. He hopes to be cleared to fight again around May.

“Pitbull” fought four times in 2019, suffering a right wrist injury against Ryan Scope in February before entering the RIZIN lightweight grand prix. Freire entered the ring three times between Oct. 12 and Dec. 31 in Japan, defeating Tatsuya Kawajiri and Gustavo before dropping a decision to Musayev.

“The doctor asked me to take a month off and then slowly return to training so I don’t break it again,” said Freire, who turns 34 later this month. “I will travel with my family to rest and avoid any hard training for now. I need this time off. I basically had a six-month camp last year [laughs].”

Freire (23-9) was riding a seven-fight winning streak before losing the grand prix final on New Year’s Eve. His run also included Bellator victories over Ben Henderson, Josh Thomson, Derek Campos and Roger Huerta.