In the Bellator 297 main event at Wintrust Arena, Pettis (23-5 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) defeated Freire (35-5 MMA, 23-5 BMMA) via unanimous decision (49-46, 50-45, 50-45) to retain the bantamweight title.
The first round was competitive, as Pettis utilized his striking and Freire found success with a caught kick into a takedown. In Round 2, the momentum changed dramatically when Pettis landed a late spinning wheel kick to the head that put Freire on the retreat. Freire wobbled backward to the fence and avoided a finishing blow until the horn sounded.
For the remainder of the fight, Pettis found success with his kicks and jab, the latter of which sliced and diced the face of Freire. While Freire found some success with his boxing and cage control, it wasn’t enough to sway the judges in his favor.
When the official decision read, Freire dropped to his knees in disbelief while an elated Pettis interviewed with John McCarthy.
Pettis successfully defends the title in his first attempt. He won the bantamweight championship in December 2021, but months later suffered a knee injury that kept him out of action for 14 months.
The win aligns Pettis with a unification bout against interim champion Patchy Mix, who the bantamweight grand prix with a knockout of Raufeon Stots in April. The two fighters squared off after the bout.
Freire falls short of history in an attempt to become the first fighter to win championships in three weight classes for the same major promotion. He currently holds the promotion’s featherweight title and held the lightweight title from 2019 to 2021. The loss snaps a three-fight winning streak for Pettis.
The up-to-the-minute Bellator 297 results include:
Sergio Pettis def. Patricio Freire via unanimous decision (49-46, 50-45, 50-45)
Gokhan Saricam def. Daniel James via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Gadzhi Rabadanov def. Pieter Buist via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Archie Colgan def. Emmanuel Sanchez via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Cody Law def. Edwin Chavez via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Bellator 297.