Roberto Satoshi de Souza has just stepped in at the last minute to fight Patricky ‘Pitbull’ Freire at Bellator x RIZIN 2 on July 30th, 2023 in what will now be the main event. Pitbull was always meant to fight at the event, as he was invited to compete in the Bellator lightweight grand prix and the opening round match was booked for this event. He was originally supposed to compete against the reigning Bellator featherweight world champion AJ McKee but he unfortunately suffered an injury in the days leading up to the event. When McKee withdrew from the fight, the promotion came across the perfect replacement.
As the RIZIN FF lightweight world champion, Roberto Satoshi de Souza was the perfect replacement to compete at a co-promotional event. Because he’s taking the fight on just a few day’s notice, the promotion has agreed to book the fight at a catchweight of 161lbs instead of the 155lbs lightweight limit. The fight will still be the opening round of the promotion’s lightweight grand prix, and AJ McKee will still be given a potential opportunity to enter the tournament. According to Bellator CEO Scott Coker, McKee will now serve as the alternate for the tournament instead.
This new development presents a few interesting scenarios for Roberto Satoshi de Souza if he can get past Patricky ‘Pitbull’ Freire at Bellator x RIZIN 2. He currently holds a 15-2 professional MMA record after bouncing back against Spike Carlyle in his last fight, and the last loss of his career was against none other than McKee himself. He might get the opportunity to avenge that loss if McKee is called up as the alternate and even if he doesn’t, winning this tournament means that de Souza would then become lightweight champion of both Bellator and RIZIN FF simultaneously.
RIZIN FF announced the news that Roberto Satoshi de Souza would be fighting Patricky ‘Pitbull’ Freire in the main event of Bellator x RIZIN 2 in a recent post to their official Instagram account: