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Pitbull brothers, Roberto Satoshi react to late-notice Bellator vs. RIZIN changes

MMA champions rarely accept short-notice fights as they have more to lose with a setback, even when their belt isn’t necessarily on the line, but that’s not the case for Patricio Pitbull and Roberto Satoshi.

The Bellator featherweight and RIZIN lightweight titleholders agreed to fight Chihiro Suzuki and Patricky Pitbull, respectively, on short notice at this weekend’s events in Saitama, Japan. The call for catchweight bouts came on less than a week’s notice, with Satoshi replacing A.J. McKee and the other matchup being put together at the last minute. They spoke with MMA Fighting about the decision to jump in the ring with basically no camp.

“They offered me a fight on short notice against Suzuki, a tough Japanese (fighter),” Patricio Pitbull said of his opponent, who recently challenged Kleber Koike for the RIZIN featherweight title. “He’s a good kickboxer with heavy strikes and good takedown defense, but we’re ready. I’m always training.”

Patricio Pitbull vs. Suzuki goes down at Super RIZIN 2 in the early hours of Sunday, right after Patricky Pitbull faces Satoshi in the main event of Bellator MMA vs. RIZIN 2.

Patricio Pitbull came up short in his attempt to become a three-division titleholder in Bellator this past June, losing a decision to Sergio Perris, and said he was back in the gym a week after the five-round contest.

“I had stitches in my forehead but kept doing 15 rounds in the gym every day,” he said. “I’m always ready for battle. You called me for a war, I’m ready.”

Satoshi most recently fought in May, winning a unanimous decision over Spike Carlyle in a non-title bout to improve to 8-2 under the RIZIN banner. He said on this week’s episode of the Trocação Franca podcast that he got the call on Monday to replace the Bellator star.

“I respect Patricky a lot, I have huge respect for those others and their history,” Satoshi said, “but I admit that I’ve always wanted to fight him. I think I’ve said that before. They treat me super well when they come to Japan, but they’re paying good money for us to lose our friendship for 30 minutes. (Laughs.)”

Satoshi knows it’s a tricky match-up, especially when his opponent had a long camp and he accepted it on six days’ notice, but said “I’m always training.”

“I don’t think (five rounds) will be an issue for me,” Satoshi said. “The only thing is that you study your opponent when you book a fight, you train for him and prepare a strategy, but this time I’ll have to focus on myself and not on my opponent. I’ll be careful, of course, he’s called ‘the KO king’ for a reason, but I hope to put on a good fight and surprise a lot to people on Sunday.”

While Patricky Pitbull had a long camp, he was training for McKee, not Satoshi. Safe to say, McKee’s fighting style is nothing like Satoshi’s.

The winner will advance to the tournament semifinal to face Alexander Shabliy.

“A lot has changed,” Patricky Pitbull said. “(McKee) was a southpaw and now (Satoshi) is an orthodox. A.J. McKee liked to throw kicks and Satoshi does a bit of striking, but he’s not a striker. He does it to keep the distance and shoot for takedowns. His takedowns are jiu-jitsu takedowns, not wrestling, and he has great triangle attacks and back takes.

“But the focus and goal remain the same. Sadly it’s a Brazilian on the other side (of the ring), but that’s work. I have to beat someone, and it’s going to be Roberto Satoshi.”

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