ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – In one of the biggest moments of the night at Bellator 49, former UFC fighter and Point Pleasant, N.J., native Kurt Pellegrino returned to Atlantic City – the birthplace of his mixed martial arts career – and made the news known that he will be joining Bellator to fight Patricky “Pitbull” Freire in the main event at Bellator 59 on Nov. 26 in Caesar’s Atlantic City. The fight will be seen live on MTV2 and in commercial-free HD on EPIX.
“I had a choice to fight at Boardwalk Hall or fight in the Ballroom at Caesars and I chose Caesars,” Pellegrino said. “I want Patricky to feel 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 his life.”
The 32-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt holds a 16-6 professional record and has beaten some notable names, including Josh Neer, Thiago Tavares, Mac Danzig, Fabricio Camoes and Junior Assuncao. The exciting veteran has been away from the cage for six months and took time off to be with his wife and two young children. Now the perpetual contender realizes how important fighting was in his life as well.
“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.”
After two straight losses on one badly injured knee, Pellegrino says he’s 100-percent healthy and ready to put on a great show for his hometown fans.
“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. 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.”
The always dangerous “Pitbull” has won five of his last six fights with four finishes, but Pellegrino feels this is his house and his time.
“If he can come into my state, the birthplace of me fighting, the place Arturo Gatti made famous – this is me resurrecting Arturo Gatti,” an excited Pellegrino said. “I’m going to rock Atlantic City just like Arturo did.”
The night will also feature the return of Polish prodigy Marcin Held, who enters the Bellator cage looking for victory against former UFC lightweight Phillipe “The Filipino Assassin” Nover. Only 19, Held already holds an impressive 11-2 record with victories over opponents nearly twice his age. With a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a continued desire to push the pace in any fight he enters, Held will provide a unique challenge to Nover.
A New York native and former finalist on The Ultimate Fighter, Nover will make his promotional debut at Bellator 59. Fighting out of Brooklyn, “The Filipino Assassin” will be looking to impress Bellator brass and the Atlantic City faithful with a dominating win.
“I’ve been a Kurt Pellegrino fan for many years,” said Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney. “Kurt is a world class lightweight, and his fight against Patricky Pitbull should be spectacular on Nov. 26 from Caesars Atlantic City.”