Michael Chandler owns a pair of victories over Patricky Freire in Bellator competition, but things didn’t go nearly as well against the younger “Pitbull” brother on Saturday night.
Chandler relinquished his lightweight crown to Patricio Freire in a champion vs. champion clash in the Bellator 221 headliner in Rosemont, Ill., on Saturday night. Freire countered Chandler with a right hand behind the ear during an initial exchange, and that sent the former NCAA All-American wrestler to the canvas. The Brazilian unloaded follow-up punches as Chandler turtled up, and moments later, referee Rob Madrigal stepped in to stop that bout just 61 seconds after it began.
Chandler instantly disputed the stoppage, although there was a period where it appeared he wasn’t doing anything to defend himself.
“Did I get hit? Yeah,” Chandler said in a post-fight media scrum (video via MMAjunkie.com). “Was I out? Absolutely not.”
While Freire joined Ryan Bader as the only simultaneous two-division champ in Bellator, Chandler is already seeking a rematch. The 33-year-old has long been one of the faces of the promotion, and he had won seven of his last eight bouts heading into Bellator 221. Chandler is confident he will eventually get what he wants.
“I’m the fighter,” Chandler told MMA Junkie after the loss. “The promoters will promote. I think you’re going to see an overwhelming majority of people that are going to want to see a rematch. I think Bellator’s probably going to want to see a rematch. Of course I want the rematch.
“Whether you’re in the camp that thinks it was an early stoppage or not, I’m not going to sit up here and rant and rave about all of that. You could’ve had 10,000 different refs in there and had it go 10,000 different ways or on the other side. … Patricio ‘Pitbull’ will step back in the cage with me, it’s just a matter of when.”