It’s a fresh start for former UFC featherweight Diego Nunes and he hopes to make the most of it against the ultra-tough Patricio Freire at Bellator 99. Nunes, who began his MMA career with 13 consecutive victories, finds himself fighting in a new organization after going just three and three in his UFC stint. His last effort, before being released by the promotion, was a decision loss in Brazil against Nik Lentz. This bout is part of Bellator’s Season 9 featherweight tournament and it shapes up as a terrific opening round fight at 145 pounds.
For his part, “Pitbull” has sustained just a pair of split decision losses in his career. One of his defeats was at the hands of Bellator featherweight champion Pat Curran in what was a back-and-forth five-round affair at Bellator 85. The other loss was a much more controversial one against Joe Warren. Freire has never been stopped in his career, while he has amassed an impressive 14 finishes in 18 career victories. His last effort was a second round stoppage of Jared Downing at Bellator 97.
Freire made a name for himself in his native Brazil winning the first 12 fights of his MMA career, most in dominant fashion, before joining Bellator for their Season 2 featherweight tournament. He’s gone 6-and-2 since joining the organization and has always been in the title conversation during his tenure.
Nunes has also faced quality opposition dating back to his UFC days against the likes of Kenny Florian and Dennis Siver and hopes to get his career on track with a solid performance against a very dangerous opponent. Nunes is the type of fighter who has shown a good work rate and has grown accustomed to leaving matters up to the judges. He’s gone the distance in his last eleven fights and has never been stopped. While Nunes doesn’t have the explosiveness of Freire, he has recorded 11 finishes in his 18 career triumphs.
This one shapes up to be a crowd-pleasing affair as both fighters don’t mind exchanging shots and both have traditionally shown an ability to take punishment as well. Both Nunes and Freire also possess solid submission skills. It’s a quality matchup that shapes up as a high-octane standup battle.
There’s no doubt that the promotional newcomer Nunes will be looking to revive a career that has stagnated after at one time showing championship potential. Nunes can definitely do that with a victory tonight over a proven Bellator fixture in Freire.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports