Bellator 194's Derek Campos: Rematch with Patricky Freire should be title eliminator

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Veteran Bellator lightweight Derek Campos wasn’t bothered when a second fight with Patricky Freire came across his desk. Of greater concern was the payoff.

Rematches are nothing new for the 29-year-old veteran. But potential title shots don’t come around every day.

“This should be an eliminator for the No. 1 spot to fight for the title,” Campos (19-6 MMA, 8-4 BMMA) told MMAjunkie in advance of Friday’s Bellator 194, where he’ll face Freire (18-8 MMA, 11-7 BMMA) in the Paramount-televised co-main at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. “Come Friday night, that’s going to be the one thing on my mind, is one step closer to goal.

“Unfortunately for Patricky, he’s in my way, and I want to take him out.”

Campos seeks revenge nearly four years after the two met in the semifinals of a lightweight tournament under Bellator’s previous tournament structure. Campos is now on a four-fight win streak he built in the wake of a 1-3 skid that started with a TKO loss to Freire.

With a potential title shot on the line, Campos said he’s going to make sure he doesn’t fall short.

“I’m sure everybody expects me to go in there and brawl it out with (Freire),” he said. “But I have a strategy that I’m going to go in there and implement, and I see myself breaking him this fight.

“I want to grind him out, and I want to break his will, and I want the ref to pull me off of him.”

Campos isn’t very impressed with the recent wins Freire brings to the table. The elder “Pitbull” brother owns victories over ex-champs Josh Thomson and Benson Henderson, but Campos said the Brazilian fighter has played it safe.

Still, he expects Freire will want to make the same kind of statment he does to convince Bellator brass that a title shot is warranted.

“Patricky is a game opponent, even though his last two fights, the way he won wasn’t really spectacular,” Campos said. “You can’t ever underestimate a guy like Patricky. Do I expect a war come Friday night? Yeah, I do.”

With a long-anticipated rematch between ex-champ Michael Chandler and champ Brent Primus now set for April 13, Campos said the winner of Friday night’s rematch is perfectly positioned to challenge for the belt. All he needs to do is deliver.

“Going into this fight, I feel like I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been on in my career,” he said. “The four-fight streak that I’m on right now, it’s a great feeling, because each fight, I’ve grown and changed some of my strategy and really took on each opponent with everything I had.”

For more on Bellator 194, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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