Patricky Pitbull seeks a clean victory over Usman Nurmagomedov and a spot on the Bellator vs. RIZIN Japan card


Patricky Pitbull puts his Bellator lightweight belt on the line against undefeated Usman Nurmagomedov this Friday in Chicago, and guarantees he’s 100 percent focused on retaining his gold. Yet, he’s hoping that a clean victory can convince Scott Coker and Nobuyuki Sakakibara to find him a spot on the Bellator vs. RIZIN card on Dec. 31 in Japan.

“I’ve asked for it before they even gave me the [Nurmagomedov] fight,” Pitbull said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “I didn’t know how many athletes would be fighting in Japan, but asked to be there. I love fighting in Japan and wanted to fight with those rules again. They want me to go there, so if I am uninjured they will let me go. I’d be super happy.”

Pitbull fought three times in Japan back in 2019, representing Bellator in the RIZIN lightweight grand prix and knocking out Tatsuya Kawajiri and Luiz Gustavo before losing a decision to Tofiq Musayev in the final. For this year’s co-promotion, Bellator has decided to send his brother Patricio Pitbull, A.J. McKee, Juan Archuleta and Kyoji Horiguchi are all going to Japan.

Bellator and RIZIN belts will not be on the line when featherweight champions Pitbull and Kleber Koike meet inside the ring in the main event, neither will be Roberto Satoshi’s 155-pound gold when he faces McKee.

” The advice that I offer to my brother [about fighting in Japan], is “Kick him in the head whenever you get the chance,” Patricky chuckled. The fights are cool, the fans like that old-school way of fighting. It reminds us of when we started. We started training back in the vale-tudo days, watching ‘Minotauro’ and ‘Cro Cop’ and those guys fighting in PRIDE. No mouthpiece was used, and we trained by kicking each other with no gear

Koike captured the RIZIN title recently with a submission over Juntarou Ushiku, his seventh straight finish in Japan, and Patricky sees similarities between him and Fabricio Guerreiro, who fought his brother back in 2013 at Bellator 103.

“[Guerreiro] had fewer submissions than Kleber, but he was larger and had more submissions in Bellator. My brother also submitted submissions to Bellator. Pitbull stated. “Patricio made it look easy, walked over him. It’s likely to end in the same way or worse, because Patricio has a lot more strength and is much harder to subdue and take down. Patricio has a superior record.

“Kleber is skinnier but we’re not underestimating him. We never underestimate opponents, we’re always focused on the win and what dangers the opponents present, but I think it’s going to be an easy fight for Patricio.”

The Bellator lightweight champion does not expect a smooth night for McKee. McKee defeated Spike Carlyle to win his lightweight debut. Satoshi entered the ring with a streak of five fights, including four in less than five minutes.

“I think it’s going to be a good fight,” he said. “Satoshi is very technical and is improving a lot in MMA, both on the feet and in adapting his jiu-jitsu to MMA. It’s going to be a tight fight. McKee was ridiculed in his last fight. He might be submitted if he makes an error in the fight. If he fights like last time, Satoshi might get him. Satoshi doesn’t waste submissions. When you go to the ground with him, he catches you.”

McKee won’t be the RIZIN champion if he beats Satoshi in Japan, and Pitbull doesn’t expect him to earn a shot at the Bellator belt either.

“Maybe his name is important and he was [featherweight] champion. But, I think Pitbull doesn’t deserve [a title shot],” Pitbull. “He hasn’t fought anyone yet [at 155]. He called me out and moved in, but I was told he had been offered to fight [Alexandr] Shabliy. But he ran away [laughs].. I don’t think he has the balls.”

Bellator will put on a 155-pound tournament in 2023 and Pitbull expects to have the opportunity to compete once in his native Brazil, especially if McKee is across the cage.

” They said that Bellator will be coming to Brazil soon and if so, Pitbull stated that he would like to face him in Brazil to feel the heat. “[Fans] would not let him rest. If it’s in Natal, he’s screwed [laughs].”