Guillaume DeLorenzi on Fighting Patricky “Pitbull” in Bellator Lightweight Tourney: “It’s a Really Good Thing”
Quebec Fighter Has Been Training With UFC’s TJ Grant
By Kelsey Mowatt
It didn’t take long for Guillaume “Il Toro” DeLorenzi to be thrust into the Bellator spotlight, as not only was the Canadian tapped for the promotion’s next lightweight tourney, but he will begin the competition against one of its biggest names in Patricky “Pitbull” Freire. For DeLorenzi, who returned from a two year plus hiatus due to injury in November, the timing of the opportunity couldn’t be better.
“I was expecting to be in the tournament, but at first, you need to win two fights,” said the 28 year-old DeLorenzi, who made his Bellator debut in November and tapped out Jonny Carson with a first round, rear-naked-choke. “It was a great opportunity for me to have only one fight to do before the tournament. I really appreciate the fact that I fought only once.”
“With a loss, I don’t know what would be the issue,” added the Quebec fighter, who will face Freire Thursday night. “But with a win you just go forward.”
Despite being sidelined throughout 2011 and for the better part of 2012, DeLorenzi (10-1) managed to secure an opportunity with Bellator, thanks in part to a four fight winning streak and a record that includes a win over UFC veteran Dale Hartt. The only man to defeat DeLorenzi since he turned professional in 2008, is another Octagon vet in Jon “War Machine” Koppenhaver.
While DeLorenzi has been steadily working his way up the Canadian lightweight rankings for several years now, he has not competed in as many high profile bouts as Freire. The Brazilian lightweight has scored memorable, stoppage wins over Rob McCullough, Toby Imada and former UFC contender Kurt Pellegrino during his run with Bellator, and Freire (10-4) has also faced current lightweight champ Michael Chandler and former champion Eddie Alvarez.
“At first I didn’t know about “Pitbull” that much,” DeLorenzi confessed. “But I’ve looked at a few of his fights. Some of them with Bellator and two more. So I started to study that guy a little bit and get some info…Fortunately I’ve got a few people who are interested in fighters and they already know that guy, so they gave me some clues.”
Although the name “Pitbull” Freire may have not have rung a bell at first, after doing some research, DeLorenzi is up to speed on the kind of opportunity that is waiting for him in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.
“A lot of people think that he’s going to be the one to win the tournament,” DeLorenzi noted. “It’s really a good thing to fight that guy in the first fight.”
Although Freire is coming off a submission loss to Lloyd Woodward and a stoppage defeat to Eddie Alvarez, the 27 year-old is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and a highlight reel striker.
“He’s a guy that’s putting on a lot of pressure; so do I,” said the powerful DeLorenzi, when asked to break down Freire as a fighter. “We’ll see how that goes and I think I’m going to have a reach advantage too.”
“He’s a straight puncher; he goes more for punches than the kicks, so maybe my kicks will be good too,” added DeLorenzi, who has stopped all but one of the ten men he has defeated. “We’ll see if he has enough cardio to last the three rounds, and then, we’ll see how it goes.”
While the former police officer spends most of his time training out of the Nordik Fight Club in Quebec City, DeLorenzi recently headed to Coal Harbour, Nova Scotia to train with TJ Grant. The rising lightweight was preparing for his UFC on FOX 6 bout with Matt Wiman, which Grant went on to win via first round knockout.
“I don’t know if I have; I think he helped me more than I did,” DeLorenzi said half jokingly, when asked to recall his experience helping Grant prepare for Wiman. “It was really awesome to train with that guy and with his main training coach Scott MacLean. They took care of me and we trained together every part of MMA…he’s a good guy and a great fighter.”
Bellator’s lightweight tourney gets underway Thursday, January 31st at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. The event will be broadcast live on SPIKE.
For more on DeLorenzi, you can listen to the entire interview with the lightweight in the next edition of Full Contact Fighter Radio, which will be up on Wednesday.