The rivalry between Bellator featherweight (145-pound) champion Daniel Straus and former champion Patricio Freire, more commonly referred to as simply “Patricio Pitbull” dates all the way back to 2011 and is one of the rare feuds in MMA to go beyond a trilogy to a fourth fight.
Unfortunately for Straus, who used MMA to transform his life and set a good example for his daughter after a troubled past with the law in his younger days, the superior jiu-jitsu of his Brazilian opponent and a hand injury (after his dramatic four rounds-to-one title win over Pitbull at Bellator 145 in St. Louis in November of 2015 led to a surgery that did not take place until March 18, 2016) cut his second title reign short just like his first thanks to a submission loss against former titleholder Pat Curran in their immediate rematch.
With a titanium plate and six screws in his hand, Cincinnati’s Straus looked to defend his belt by doing what he is known for— throwing bombs on the feet. Pitbull draws a reaction from the crowd early as he blasts Straus with a right hand just ten seconds in. They then trade leg kicks to keep the other man at a distance and try to find their range through the rest of the opening minute. Straus then misses with a high kick.
Pitbull offers up a right kick to the ribs and matching right shot to the face of his opponent. Straus pulls back on a southpaw strike and Pitbull seizes the opportunity to throw another right kick to the torso. Straus offers up a lazy front kick before a left hand connects and the two clinch. They each land small punches from in close but mostly circle out, forcing the other against the cage. The champ lands a light knee to the head of Pitbull before they are separated with around 30 seconds to go.
Pitbull lands a body kick again but the remainder of the stanza passes without incident.
The two paw at each other to begin the next round but almost immediately clinch around the 15-second mark. It almost looks as if he falls into Pitbull as they go to the canvas, Straus’ neck clearly extended—not a good thing when facing a man who’s already submitted him once before. Pitbull sinks in the guillotine choke and is again on top of Bellator’s featherweight division.
For all intents and purposes as far as facing each other in the cage, this rivalry has been put to bed as Pitbull beat Straus 3-1 (by unanimous decision, rear-naked choke, and guillotine choke.)
(C) Patricio Freire def. Daniel Straus via Guillotine Choke at 0:37 of Round 2