Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (31-4-0) fights Emmanuel “El Matador” Sanchez (20-4-0) in the semifinal of the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix, the main event at Bellator 255 at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut on Friday night. In addition, Freire’s title belt is also up for grabs.
The winner of this bout will meet the undefeated 25-year-old AJ McKee (17-0). McKee defeated Darrion Caldwell via first-round submission in the semifinal on the other side of the bracket.
The pair fought in the main event of Bellator 209 in Tel Aviv, Israel, with Freire winning via unanimous decision. However, all three judges had Freire only marginally ahead.
Age: 33 | From: Natal, Rio, Brazil
The 33 year old Brazilian champion is defending his 145-pound strap for the seventh time. He is also the only Bellator MMA champion that holds two belts in different weight classes simultaneously, featherweight and lightweight.
Freire is currently on a six-fight winning streak. That run included a knockout of Michael Chandler to win the 155-pound belt, while his last two wins have come in the Grand Prix, with a victory over Juan Archuleta by unanimous decision at Bellator 228, followed by a first-round knockout over Pedro Carvalho at Bellator 252.
Age: 30 | From: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The 30 year old challenger from the USA has earned another crack at Freire’s championship belt by beating Tywan Claxton and Daniel Weichel in the opening two rounds of the grand prix.
Freire vs Sanchez Odds
Freire comes into the bout as a moderate favorite and the challenge facing Sanchez is shown by the fact that Pitbull has never been knocked out or submitted in his MMA career to date.
That said, the first fight was three years ago now and Sanchez is the younger man and has a height and reach advantage. At the current betting odds, he could be worth backing to win here.
Hamel vs Nurmagomedov Odds
Elsewhere on the bill, there is a lightweight bout between Mike “Magic” Hamel (7-4) and Usman Nurmagomedov (11-0). The Dagestan native (cousin of Khabib Nurmagomedov) is a lethal striker with a high-pressure style.
Bellator 255 Predictions:
- Patricio Freire vs Emmanuel Sanchez – Emmanuel Sanchez to Win at +195 with Bovada
- Mike Hamel vs Usman Nurmagomedov – Usman Nurmagomedov to Win -900 at Bovada
* Bellator 255 odds correct at the time of writing. All odds are subject to change.