UFC veteran Kurt Pellegrino ended his short-term retirement by announcing he would return to MMA on November 26 at Bellator 59 to face Patricky “Pitbull” Freire.
Pellegrino (16-6) has defeated the likes of Josh Neer, Thiago Tavares, Mac Danzig and Junior Assuncao in his career. He said his knee, which was badly injured after two straight losses in the UFC, is now 100-percent healed.
“I retired from fighting and didn’t think I was going to do this anymore. I feel like this is the right show for me to do everything I want to do and to go where I want to go,” Pellegrino said. “I get to finish the vision quest my way and this is why I chose Bellator. My family comes before anything and Bellator understands that. I wanted to wait until I was able to fight in Atlantic City and Bellator is giving me that opportunity – so I couldn’t be happier.”
Freire has won five of his last six fights, including four by finish. “Pitbull” is 9-2 in his career, having lost his last fight to Michael Chandler in the lightweight tournament final in May.
“I had a choice to fight at Boardwalk Hall or fight in the Ballroom at Caesars and I choice Caesars,” Pellegrino said. “I want Patricky to feeul suffocated. I want to suffocate him before I ever take his back and choke him out. I’m going to put a thousand of my family and friends in this Ballroom and I want him to feel the pressure. This is going to be the biggest fight of my life.”
A six-month break from fighting was more than enough for Pellegrino, as he spent time with his wife and two children. Now, “Batman” is ready to make a Rocky-like return.
“It was like Rocky II when Adrian awoke from the coma and told Rocky to, ‘Win,’” Pellegrino said. “I was retired, sitting home watching videos with my son, but I was also training at that time and was in great shape when my wife walked up to me and said, ‘If you want to do it again, go for it.’ Before that, I felt bad for being away training and missing my daughter’s first words, changing diapers, etc. I was so happy that I was able to be there for my son’s big moments – but the fact that my family supports me returning to fight means everything to me.”
Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney is excited to bring another big name MMA fighter to his organization.
“I’ve been a Kurt Pellegrino fan for many years,” Rebney said. “Kut is a world class lightweight, and his fight against Patricky ‘Pitbull’ should be spectacular on November 26 from Caesars Atlantic City.”