Bellator 99 Bet: Diego Nunes (+170) vs Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (-230)

Bellator 99

Date: September 13, 2013 Arena: Pechanga Resort & Casino City: Temecula, CA

Featherweight bout: Diego Nunes (+170) vs Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (-230) Fight Breakdown: Bellator 99 presents a main event match-up between two fast-paced, high-volume Brazilian strikers that is sure to produce fireworks, when UFC veteran Diego Nunes takes on Bellator veteran Patricio “Pitbull” Feire. Nunes is currently the underdog at +170 ($100 to win $170), while Freire is the favorite at -230 ($230 to win $100) at Several Bookmakerss. DIEGO NUNES (18-4 MMA, 0-0 Bellator) is making his Bellator debut in a main event contest against one of the stars of the promotions featherweight division, in Patiricio “Pitbull” Freire. Nunes was released from the UFC after going 7-4 under the ZUFFA banner. The UFC usually cuts fighters who are on a two or three fight losing streak, but prior to Nunes’ loss to Nik Lentz in January, he was victorious in a “Fight of the Night” award-winning performance against Bart Palaszewski. That said, the cut was not completely befuddling, as Nunes had gone 3-3 in his last six fights. Diego Nunes is a talented kickboxer with solid technique behind his strikes. He is not a knockout artist but is capable of landing strikes in high volume and outscoring opponents on the feet. Nunes is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and has a very active guard. His takedown defense isn’t the best, but once he’s on his back, it isn’t a walk from the park due to his ability to threaten with strikes and submissions. That said, talented grapplers generally don’t have a problem avoiding his attack from the guard. Nunes will have the height and reach advantage going into this bout and he has a lot of heart and tremendous cardio. He will be prepared for a fifteen minute war. PATRICIO “PITBULL” FREIRE (18-2 MMA, 6-2 Bellator) is one of the best featherweight strikers in all of mixed martial arts. If Diego Brandao were an elite fighter, he would be Patricio Freire. “Pitbull” like Brandao, is very fast, explosive, and effective; but unlike Brandao, he can keep that pace for three rounds, rather than just one, which makes him a very dangerous 145-er. Freire is quick with both his feet and his hands and he can land three significant strikes before his opponent can land one. He can strike technically and do damage there, or turn the fight into a brawl, which is what I believe he prefers. He has a solid chin, something he is very confident in, so he loves to get into a brawl and take shots while looking for the big highlight reel knockout. On top of throwing excellent, crisp punches and kicks, Freire holds his own on the mat, as he is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. In fact, he is a finisher on the mat as much as he is on the feet, as 14 of his 18 career victories have been a split seven knockouts and seven submissions. Freire is coming off a TKO win over Jared Downing at Bellator 97 less than two months ago and looks to get past Diego Nunes, as he has his sights set on a rematch with Bellator featherweight champ Pat Curran. Fight Prediction: This could very well be a Fight of the Year-candidate type of fight. Both are passionate Brazilian fighters who are really looking to put on an impressive performance. Pitbull wants to redeem himself after coming short against Curran, and Nunes wants to prove that he’s one of the best at 145 in all of MMA and that the UFC made a mistake letting him go. Nunes definitely has a chip on his shoulder and that could benefit him or hurt him. In any case, I foresee this being an exciting bout where lots of strikes are exchanged. Both Brazilians are durable and sure can take a punch but I believe Pitbull is the more powerful striker and don’t think Nunes has been hit by anyone in the 145 division who hits as hard as Pitbull. I could see Pitbull eventually hurting Nunes on the feet and finishing him for the first time in his professional mixed martial arts career. If he doesn’t get the finish, I think at the very least Pitbull will do enough to manage a 29-28, but I’ll be expecting a Unanimous 30-27 should it go to the scorecards. Gabe’s Pick: Patricio “Pitbull” Freire by TKO (strikes, 3:04 round 3) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Patricio Freire -230 for a big play.

Written by Gabe Killian

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