Injury Forces Bellator to Swap Israel Main Event on Short Notice
For the second even in a row, Bellator has had to make a quick shift to its main event.
Bellator featherweight champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire removed himself from a fight with Daniel Weichel, which was slated to headline Thursday’s Bellator 188 in Israel.
Freire posted on his Instagram account late Sunday to announce the move.
“I’m sad to announce I’ll no longer be fighting in Israel next week. Multiple injuries prevent me to perform,” he wrote. “A couple months ago due to a training accident, I suffered a serious injury and started treating it immediately. I had to stop training for a few weeks and then I was able to start with several limitations. But due to those, other parts of my body were overcharged and new injuries kept piling up.”
Freire went on to say that he had been doing extensive physical therapy and the fight was still on as recently as mid-week last week, but after testing himself in a sparring session, he had “no condition to step up in that cage.”
He will instead be taking 30 days off and then return to training with plans to put his belt on the line against Daniel Weichel, hopefully in February.
With Freire vs. Weichel removed from the Bellator 188 card, the promotion moved swiftly to elevate the co-main event bout between Noad Lahat and Jeremiah Labiano to headlining status. Following that move, the bout between Haim Gozali and Arsen Faitovich was slotted in as the new co-main event.
Though it’s not the best thing for Bellator, the change is a somewhat fortunate turn of events for Labiano, who was moved from the Bellator 187 event in Dublin to the Bellator 188 card in Israel after his original opponent, James Gallagher, had to pull out last week’s bout due to injury.