Bellator 252 featured the quarter-final round of the Featherweight World Grand Prix including champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire putting his title on the line in the main event.

Freire, who also holds the Bellator lightweight title, faced Pedro Carvalho in a quarter-final bout in the Featherweight Grand Prix with his championship belt on the line. He showed why he’s the champion scoring a first-round knockout win.

Carvalho pressured Freire and it would end up being a terrible game plan. Freire staggered Carvalho with a right hand early in the first round. Freire took Carvalho’s back on the ground but was unable to keep in grounded. Once on their feet, Carvalho went on offense. He moved forward with punches and ended up absorbing a solid right hand. Freire followed with a two-punch combination that sent Carvalho crashing to the canvas. The end came at the 2:10 mark of the opening round.

With the win, Freire retained his title and advanced to the semi-finals of the grand prix. He’ll face Emmanuel Sanchez, who secured his title shot and semi-final bid earlier in the night.

“He’s tough. I was expecting that. Now he’s more dynamic and I like his style. I can’t wait to fight him again,” Freire said after the fight.

Sanchez faced Daniel Weichel in the other Bellator World Featherweight Grand Prix match on the fight card. The two had fought before with Weichel defeating Sanchez by split decision in July 2016. On Thursday, Sanchez evened the score.

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The opening round was back and fourth with Sanchez dictating the pace but coming up short with his right hands and Weichel landing counter shots. Sanchez had a higher output than Weichel but Weichel landed at a better pecentage.

In the second frame, everything changed. Sanchez continued to pressure Weichel and land leg kicks. He began targeting the body of Weichel and nearly scored a finish. A series of body shots caused Weichel to fall to the ground. Sanchez tried to put Weichel away with punches but Weichel survived the round.

Like their first bout, the rematch went the distance but the decision was unanimous. Sanchez dominated Weichel and the scorecards reflected it. The scorecards read: 48-46, 49-46, and 49-45.

Sanchez punched his ticket to the semi-finals and a title fight agaisnt Freire in his next outing. Friere and Sanchez have fought before with Freire defeating Sanchez by unanimous decision at Bellator 209 in November 2008.

“”I’m just doing what I love and loving what I do and giving all the glory and honor to my great God above.  Life is good,” Sanchez said following the win. “I’m going to go and get that title that I didn’t get in Israel.”

Full Bellator 252 Results:

  • Patricio Freire def. Pedro Carvalho by KO (punches) at 2:10, R1
  • Yaroslav Amosov def. Logan Storely by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Emmanuel Sanchez def. Daniel Weichel by unanimous decision (48-46, 49-46, 49-45)
  • Emmanuel Sanchez def. Daniel Weichel by unanimous decision (48-46, 49-46, 49-45)
  • Aaron Pico def. John de Jesus by TKO (punches) at 4:12, R2
  • Keri Taylor-Melendez def. Emilee King by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:02, R1
  • Manny Muro def. Devin Powell by unanimous decision (30–27, 29–28, 30–27)
  • Jornel Lugo def. Schyler Sootho by unanimous decision (29–28, 30–27, 30–27)
  • Lucas Brennan def. Andrew Salas by by unanimous decision (30–27, 30–26, 30–26)
  • Roman Faraldo def. Pat Casey by TKO (flying knee and punches) at 2:30, R2
  • Trevor Gudde def. Khonry Gracie by TKO (knee and punches) at 3:28, R3





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