AJ McKee has known it would be him and Patricio Pitbull in the finals of the featherweight grand prix.
McKee made quick work of Georgi Karakhanyan and then submitted Derek Camps and Darrion Caldwell to reach the finals. Pitbull, meanwhile, beat Juan Archuleta and then KO’d Pedro Carvalho and submitted Emmanuel Sanchez to reach the finals.
McKee has been training to face the champ since he signed with Bellator and knows this was the fight everyone wanted.
“It was good. Sanchez is pretty textbook, you know what he is going to do. He went back to his 1-2-3 lead leg kick and Pitbull capitalized on it,” McKee said to BJPENN.com. “Pitbull is a great counter striker and made him pay. Now he has me, and this was the fight to make for years now. Let’s see how things play out and I wanted to make a statement in this tournament and I can do that.”
Although McKee knew it would be Pitbull, and is confident he will win, he is well aware that the champ will be his toughest test to date. He knows the Brazilian has KO power but says everyone knows it’s his time to rule the division and he plans to prove that when they meet later this year.
“By far, he’s the champ-champ. He has a lot of accolades and I can’t wait to get them done,” McKee said. “He is the next two steps in front of me in the featherweight and lightweight title. He’s tried to ignore me for the longest time but he can’t ignore me now. Patricio knows it’s my time now and I’m taking what’s mine.”
When they do end up fighting, AJ McKee not only expects to get his hand raised, but he expects to KO Patricio Pitbull.
“I will knock his ass out. Wherever the fight goes, he is an elite striker but I’m too big and strong for him,” McKee said. “I will be too much for him. If his game plan is to take me down, he won’t get me down and I’ll pick him apart. Everyone gets into brawls with him and throw hooks, I have almost a foot reach advantage, so I’ll use my jab and straight punches and eventually find the KO punch.”
If McKee does get the KO win over Pitbull he says he will give him an immediate rematch, but wants it at lightweight so he can beat him in back-to-back fights to become the champ-champ.
“When I knock his ass out, people will say I got lucky. I will give him an immediate rematch but the rematch will be at lightweight so I can knock his ass out there too and take both his belts,” McKee concluded.
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