Patricio Freire will be fighting in Japan for the first time at Rizin 40. He faces fellow Brazilian Koike Kleber and is excited to be following in the footsteps of some legendary Brazilians.

“I’m very excited for this. I remember all the fighters I grew up watching in Pride like Wanderlei Silva and Minotauro Nogueira. Now its my turn to be like them.”

While Kleber and Freire both come from Brazil their respective routes to becoming champions have been very different. The Bellator star started out competing in his homeland and won his first 12 fights to earn a Bellator contract in 2010.

Tough fighter

By contrast Kleber has never fought in Brazil. He made his pro debut in Japan and has spent virtually his entire career competing in his adopted home, although he did have a brief stint with Polish promotion KSW.

Kleber has had 37 fights while Freire has had 39. Both men are BJJ black belts and the two division Bellator champion thinks his adversary would do well fighting for the American promotion,

“Kleber has polished jiu jitsu skills and is a very tough fighter. He would do good in Bellator but he won’t be able to become a champion as long as I’m around.”

No fear

While Freire is known as a striking specialist he thinks his submission game is underrated,

“I wont deny that he has good jiu jitsu but I’m also a jiu jitsu specialist, I have more wins by submission than KO. So I’m not afraid to take the fight to the ground.”

But whereas Kleber is an out and out submission specialist Freire is more of an all rounder. He has scored some vicious KOs and it sounds like the 35 year old wants to keep the fight standing,

“I will defend all his submissions and knock him out.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by patrickypitbull (@patrickypitbull)

Family pride

His brother Patrick Freire entered the Rizin lightweight Grand Prix in 2019. He reached the final but dropped a decision to Tofiq Musaev, who is now a Bellator fighter himself.

Freire wants to go one step further than his brother by beating the Rizin champion and feels his family pride is at stake,

“It has been my goal to fight in Japan like my brother. I will get revenge for him and the Pitbull family will take home the win.”