In Bellator MMA's first international event, Patricky "Pitbull" Freire easily outfought a passive Kevin Souza to earn a unanimous-decision victory in the featured fight in Torino, Italy, on Saturday night.
A poised and controlled Patricky took the openings Souza gave him. Souza never looked to set up any power shots. Instead, he seemed content to let Freire land the occasional strike. In the past, Freire has rushed in while looking for the stoppage and gotten into trouble.
In recent fights, he's been more careful. He showed that same approach against Souza. With the latter offering little in the way of offense, it wound up being an easy night of work for Freire. Here's a look at all of the results in Italy:
- Patricky Freire vs. Kevin Souza: Freire via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
- Alessio Sakara vs. Brian Rogers: Sakara via TKO (2:29 Round 2).
- A.J. McKee vs. Danilo Belluardo: McKee via TKO (2:44 Round 1).
- Anastasia Yankova vs. Anjela Pink: Yankova via submission (armbar, 1:35 Round 1).
- Daniele Miceli vs. Daniele Scatizzi: Scatizzi via TKO (3:20 Round 1).
Sakara Delights Hometown Crowd
Alessio Sakara is an Italian MMA legend. If you need any proof of that, the evidence was in the volume from the crowd when Sakara began his cage walk. The Italian fans only got louder every time Sakara came close to landing a shot against Brian Rogers.
The first round was close, but Rogers may have taken it with the judges, as he took Sakara down and held him in place for most of the frame. In the second, Sakara rebounded as fatigue seemed to slow Rogers.
Sakara landed a huge right hand above Rogers' right ear, wobbling him, and then landed another right hand that sent him to the canvas. The crowd erupted, and Sakara had an emotional victory. Bellator MMA shared the finish:
It's unclear whether Sakara will continue to fight. When asked during the post-fight interview, he said he would answer Bellator's call as long as he could fight in Italy. He's not a serious contender at 205 pounds, but there's no doubt he can fill a stadium of MMA fans in his home country.
McKee Has the Key to a Lockdown Division
If you think the Bellator featherweight division is on lock, 21-year-old phenom A.J. McKee wants you to know he has the key. On Saturday, he had no problem solving Milan’s Danilo Belluardo. McKee moved to a perfect 4-0 in his pro MMA career with a first-round technical knockout.
The crowd did its best to spur on Belluardo, but McKee outclassed him in every way. McKee even had to shake off a low blow early in the first round. After getting a brief moment to recover, he wasted no time finishing Belluardo. Here's a look at the finish, via Bellator MMA:
McKee talks like a guy who is ready to challenge for the title, but in reality, he probably needs two or three more fights before he's ready for the best 145-pounders.
Benson Henderson will make his Bellator MMA debut April 22, when he'll challenge welterweight champion Andrey Koreshkov in Uncasville, Connecticut. Henderson is a former UFC lightweight champion and arguably the biggest free-agent signing in Bellator history.
This is an important fight, as it will probably draw the attention of fans who might otherwise watch only UFC events.
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