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Patricio Pitbull undergoes surgery for herniated discs, out until 2024

Dr. Marco Moscatelli, Patricio Pitbull and Patricky Pitbull

Bellator featherweight champion Patricio Pitbull will be sidelined until 2024 after undergoing a cervical spine surgery on Sunday, his team announced Tuesday.

Pitbull suffered the first knockout loss of his MMA career at Super RIZIN 2 on July 30, a major upset against Chihiro Suzuki in Japan, and revealed the need of having surgery to fix a C6 and C7 herniated disc that caused neck pain and numbed his arms.

Pitbull is expected to be cleared to fight in six months. Bellator has yet to reveal its plans for the 145-pound belt, which was last defended in October 2022. The Brazilian fought three times since his title defense over Adam Borics, defeating then-RIZIN champion Kleber Koike in a non-title fight in Japan, losing to Sergio Pettis for the 135-pound Bellator throne, and most recently the Suzuki catchweight defeat in Japan.

The Bellator legend had surgery Sunday in Natal, Brazil, and Dr. Marco Moscatelli said his injury could have diminished his performance in recent fights with Sergio Pettis and Suzuki, the first time Pitbull lost two in a row in MMA.

“I was feeling this pressure when I got hit in the fights, I was feeling my arms and legs weak and numb,” Pitbull stated in a release. “I avoided surgery because once you do it there’s no coming back, and there were risks involved, like not returning to fighting again. I was very conservative and paid the price. I had never lost two in a row nor got knocked out in 19 years as a professional. My only way out was doing the surgery.”

The one-hour procedure was successful, his team announced, and now Pitbull feels sure that “I will come back stronger to defend my title and do a rematch with Pettis for the bantamweight title, and another [rematch] with Chihiro Suzuki to defend my Bellator title.”

“I thank Dr. Marco and his team,” he added. “Post-surgery was great. I feel way better and motivated to have my full recovery and return to training as soon as possible.”

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