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Patricio Pitbull explains what it would take for him to vacate the Bellator lightweight title

Brazil's Patricio Pitbull is the Bellator featherweight and lightweight titleholder.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Patricio "Pitbull" Freire is proud to be one of Bellator’s two-division champions, but he would have no problem relinquishing one of his belts if his brother Patricky "Pitbull" Freire competes for a vacant title.

The younger “Pitbull” sits atop the featherweight and lightweight divisions and currently is involved in a 145-pound tournament, matched-up against Pedro Carvalho in a quarterfinal contest.

Freire was willing to defend the 155-pound belt — or even go for a third one at bantamweight — after his most recent victory over Juan Archuleta in Sept. 2019, but says Bellator told him he has to go through the grand prix first before exploring other alternatives.

The Bellator champion expects to finally meet Carvalho in October or November after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of their fight in March, hoping to enter the cage twice before the end of the year while the lightweight class survives without a defending king.

Since he has offered to defend lightweight his belt in late-2019, Freire would not accept being stripped of his second title unless they are giving his brother a shot. Patricky, who went 2-1 under the RIZIN banner in the fourth quarter of 2019, losing in the tournament final, won his last five Bellator bouts since 2017.

“Only if he’s involved,” Patricio Freire said of what it would take for Bellator to convince him to relinquish his lightweight belt. “There’s no other possibility of me vacating the belt. If there’s any other challenger, I’d fight.”

“To take the belt from me (under other circumstances), it would have to be by force,” he continued. “I’ve already volunteered to fight and the company said, ‘No, you’ll have to finish the 145-pound grand prix first.’ Winning that belt was really hard so I wouldn’t accept it (vacating it). If they put my brother in a title fight, then I’d do it. I’ve already told them I would vacate the title so the division can move.”

Patricky Freire was expected to headline Bellator Dublin on Oct. 3 opposite Peter Queally, and sources said the company is still trying to keep the event on for Europe if Ireland is not an option due to travel restrictions caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

With Michael Chandler possibly out of the title picture as he test his free agency waters, “Pitbull” sees his older brother as one of three lightweights deserving of a shot at the belt. Brent Primus, who won back-to-back submissions since losing the gold in 2018, and UFC veteran Myles Jury, victorious in his last two in the promotion, have also emerged as options.

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