If you didn’t get enough Bellator action on Friday night with Bellator 202 from Oklahoma, the organization has another card on Saturday night from Italy with Bellator 203 headlined by a featherweight title fight rematch between Patricio “Pitbull” Freire and Daniel Weichel. Check back for Mybookie Sportsbook odds before placing your ticket!
Bellator 203 MMA Betting Preview
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) 12 de julio de 2018
- When: Saturday, 9 PM ET (telecast time)
- Where: Foro Italico, Rome, Italy
- TV: Paramount Network
- Streaming Option: Bellator Live
Patricio Freire (26-4) vs. Daniel Weichel (39-9)
“Pitbull” is a -245 favorite at Mybookie.ag with Weichel at +185. Freire beat Weichel at Bellator 138 in June 2015 by second-round knockout. That was a pivotal moment in Bellator MMA’s history. Filling in for an injured Georgi Karakhanyan, Weichel had Freire dead to rights at the end of Round 1, but the champion was saved by the bell. The German vet of M-1 caught the champ with a right hand and followed with a fast combination that knocked Freire to the ground.
But then, just 32 seconds later in Round 2, Freire came roaring back with a knockout for the win. Referee John McCarthy stepped in to save Weichel, whose head bounced off the canvas after taking Freire’s punch.
Since that time, Weichel has gone on a four-fight win streak to earn a second chance. Freire is just 2-2 in his past four but regained the title from Daniel Straus in an epic fourth encounter between the two last year. Freire waited 17 months to avenge a loss to Straus, and this time “Pitbull” cinched a guillotine choke to take back the featherweight title. Both guys brought physical baggage into the bout. Straus badly broke his left hand winning the belt in November 2015, and Freire broke his right leg in an ill-fated trip to lightweight against ex-UFC champ Benson Henderson.
The 31-year-old Freire has lately embraced more of a karate-centric form of kickboxing. He can either enter space quickly to intercept his opposition or exit to safety when appropriate. Weichel is a veteran of almost 50 fights and has been fighting since 2002. The 33-year-old has consistently improved throughout his career and is arguably looking better than ever heading into this contest.
Freire competes in his 19th Bellator bout, tied for the second most appearances in company history behind David Rickels (20). Freire competes in his 18th Bellator featherweight bout, the most appearances in divisional history. Freire is one of eight two-time champions in Bellator history. Three of those have been in the featherweight division. Freire’s 10 stoppage victories in Bellator are second-most in company history behind Chandler (11).
Weichel returns to competition for the first time since Apr. 14, 2017. The 456-day layoff the longest of his more than 16-year career. Weichel is 10-1 in his past 11 fights dating back to June 2012. He has earned 22 of his 28 career stoppage victories by submission.
Alessio Sakara (19-12, 2 NC) vs. Jamie Sloane (8-3, 1 NC)
Check back for Mybookie.ag odds on this light-heavyweight showdown. The Italian Sakara, a former boxer, has a chance to perform in front of his home crown in Rome. Sakara was formerly in the UFC but lost his final four fights there to Chris Weidman, Brian Stann, Patrick Cote and Nicholas Musoke so he left the UFC, believing he shouldn’t fight at middleweight again.
Sakara then fought twice in the FFC before signing with Bellator. Sakara made his promotional debut against Brian Rogers at Bellator’s first event in Sakara’s native Italy on April 16, 2016, at Bellator 152. He won via knockout in the second round. Sakara followed that with a first-round TKO of Joey Beltran at Bellator 168.
Sakara challenged Rafael Carvalho for the Bellator middleweight championship on December 9, 2017, at Bellator 190 but lost via knockout in the first round. Sakara has suffered eight of his 12 career losses by stoppage. Twelve of Sakara’s 19 professional victories have concluded inside one round. They include 13-, 20-, 21-, 30-, 72-, 80-, 87-, 90- and 92-second finishes.
“There isn’t much to say because it was a short fight,” Sakara said of the loss to Carvalho. “I took a shot which seemed harmless, but I went blind after that. I started backing away because I was completely blind; that was what bothered me the most. I don’t have any excuses. My training camp was the best I’ve ever had. I felt confident in the cage, and I sought out my opponent. He was the better man that night.”
Sakara has competed in nine different countries as a professional mixed martial artist. They are Italy, Austria, England, Canada, Sweden, the United States, Brazil, South Korea and Russia. Those appearances have taken place under the auspices of 14 organizations.
Sloane will be making his Bellator debut when he looks to play the role of spoiler in Sakara’s home country. The BAMMA veteran has also made appearances at heavyweight and middleweight since beginning his professional career in 2014. Sloane has never gone the distance as a pro: He has earned all of his career victories by stoppage and has been finished in all of his career losses.
Expert Predictions for Bellator 203
Both of these will end by knockout … for Weichel and Sakara.