AJ McKee is the new Bellator featherweight king.
Bellator 263 this past Saturday night saw the 26-year old crowned to close out the 145-pound one-million-dollar Grand Prix. To do so, McKee put away the greatest fighter in promotional history, Patricio “Pitbull” Freire, in just a single round.
Despite the defeat, Pitbull remains the lightweight champion. AJ McKee has already teased an eventual move up in the division thus setting up multiple potential encounters.
Assuming a rematch can happen, Pitbull’s coach Eric Albarracin hopes to see it on the former featherweight titleholder’s turf.
“Brazilians don’t care, but Americans do, 16 games in the NFL are played to get a home-field advantage, 180 in baseball,” Albarracin said at the Bellator 263 post-fight press conference. “He’s the world champ-champ, I mean, when you ask a warrior, ‘Hey, where do you wanna fight?’ They say, ‘Anywhere, anytime.’ But obviously not in the hometown of the challenger giving him all the advantages.
“[AJ McKee has] The youth, the range, the reach, and then throw the home-field advantage where he’s sleeping and training in his home gym — we traveled 36 hours to get here. I mean, let’s switch it up one time.”
The victory for AJ McKee extended his current winning streak to a whopping 18 — all coming under the Bellator banner. Out of those 18, “The Mercenary” has only gone the distance on five occasions with seven ending by submission and six by knockout or TKO.
Pitbull, on the other hand, suffered his fifth career defeat in 37 fights when succumbing to McKee’s standing guillotine. The Brazilian’s third run with the featherweight title was inarguably his finest as he went on a winning streak of seven straight — mixed in was a first-round TKO over Michael Chandler to claim the 155-pound title.This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM