Bellator 203: “Pitbull vs Weichel 2” comes to Foro Italico in Rome, Italy, this Saturday evening (July 14, 2018), featuring a main event between Featherweight champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (26-4) defending his 145-pound title against Daniel Weichel (39-9) for a second time.
Weichel’s first chance to dethrone Freire came at Bellator 138 in St. Louis, Mo., filling in for an injured Georgi Karakhanyan. Weichel had Freire badly hurt at the end of the first round only for Freire to get a much-needed minute to recover. And just 32 seconds later, Freire came roaring back to finish Weichel by knockout. Since that time, Weichel has gone on a four-fight win streak to earn his second chance at the title. Meanwhile, Freire would lose the belt for a short time only to regain the title from Daniel Straus in an epic fourth encounter between the two last year.
“It’s been a great camp, you know? I didn’t really take too much time off after the fight got canceled. Of course, I got one or two weeks (of) keeping it easy, but basically I was on the mat until then and kept training and kept preparing for the next fight.”
That’s a pretty long time to only take “one or two weeks” off given the fight was originally set for Nov. 2017! Nevertheless, Weichel is not only ready for a fight this weekend … he’s more than ready.
“It is exactly like that! Just give me a big meal (*laughing*) and after that I can go and fight.”
If he wasn’t eager to fight already the “fighting words” used by Freire may put him on edge, starting with the accusation that Weichel actually lost two recent fights he won by split decision.
“You know I think with Emmanuel Sanchez, I think I won this fight clearly. I know it was a close fight, but I won the fight, definitely. With John Teixeira I know it was a very close fight, but I feel I had the advantage from the second round on. My punches were more specific and I had a better impact on the punches. Yeah, I think I really won the close fight with Teixeira.”
“If you look at the last fight (between us) it makes sense to have a rematch, especially when you see what happened in the first round and that I was close to finishing. Okay, he won the fight, I don’t take anything away from him. But, also I think I fought the toughest contenders who were out there and there’s no one else out there who they can put in front of him who’s a fair No. 1 contender.”
As you might expect, “Pitbull” had an answer for that, too, saying that no matter how close Weichel was to finishing him in the first round, he proved who was better by getting his hand raised at the end.
“I don’t take anything away from (him on) that, but I know where my mistake was. It was not a technical fault, it was like an emotional fault. Like … I lost my focus for a tenth of a second, and I paid for it. This is not gonna happen again, and I will make it different this time.”
If emotions got the better of Weichel the first time they fought, does he have to reign in his emotions for this rematch, especially if he puts Freire in danger once again?
“I am aggressive and I will be aggressive in this fight, but I’ll keep it inside of me. I won’t rush. I have my game plan, I have my focus, and I will execute that. So as long as I keep my focus, I don’t see how he can do anything with me.”
Since “Pitbull” had made it very clear he was tired of rematches and felt the fans (and him. obviously) deserved fresh fights, the $ 64,000 question was in the air — would Weichel give a third fight to Freire if he won the title?
“It always depends on how the fight plays out. If it’s a close fight, I think he would deserve a rematch, but yeah it all depends on how this fight goes.”
No matter how it goes Weichel is very happy that Bellator brought this fight card to Rome, which for him also brings it much closer to home in Frankfurt, Germany.
“I feel great about it in many ways. Of course it’s a short flight, that’s really really good, but also a lot of my friends and fans and family are coming with me to Rome. My parents and my brother will be there, a lot of guys from our gym will come to watch and support me, so I will have great energy out there and I’m already very thankful and grateful to have so many amazing supporters over there.”
Since a lot of fans compare Weichel’s features to famous actor/musician Drake, I asked Weichel if we might get a song from Drake’s new album “Scorpion” for his entrance to feed off that energy.
“It’s quite possible, but I haven’t made the final decision, so it will be a surprise.”
What won’t be a surprise is a fantastic bout between two of the promotion’s best Featherweights going today in the main event of Bellator 203 in Rome, Italy.
Complete audio of our interview is embedded above, and complete coverage of “Pitbull vs. Weichel 2” resides here at MMA Mania all week long.
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