Bellator 263 is scheduled to take place at The Forum in Inglewood, California on July 31st. The promotion's pay-per-view is being headlined by Patricio “Pitbull” Freire who is going face-to-face against AJ McKee in the finals of Featherweight World Grand Prix tournament. Not only is Pitbull’s Featherweight Championship on the line but also a 1 million dollar prize.
The Bellator Featherweight World Grand Prix tournament started out with 16 men including: Patricio Pitbull, AJ McKee, Juan Archuleta, Pedro Carvalho, Sam Sicilia, Emmanuel Sanches, Tywan Claxton, Daniel Weichel, Saul Rogers, Georgi Karakhanyan, Derek Campos, Daniel Straus, Darrion Caldwell, Henyr Corrales, Adam Borics and Pat Curran.
During the Bellator 263 Press conference, which took place Thursday as part of Fight Week events, Bellator President Scott Coker said that he was hoping AJ McKee and Patricio Pitbull would be the final two men competing.
Many have stressed that this fight could be the most historic in Bellator history. An opinion that Coker subscribes too. During the press conference, he informed members of the media that his hopes are that McKee vs Pitbull will “become the greatest fight in Bellator history.” Acknowledging that his hopes for this fight is that it becomes both ” historical and legendary.”
The reason this fight is being regarded as possibly the most historic fight within the promotion's history is because on one side you have Patricio Pitbull who is currently a two-division champion. He not only holds the Featherweight Championship but also the Lightweight championship. Pitbull has held the Featherweight Championship since defeating Daniel Straus at Bellator 178 back in April 2017. This victory commenced his second reign as Featherweight Champion. He then went on to successfully defend the Featherweight championship against Daniel Weichel, Emmanuel Sanchez, Juan Archuleta, Pedro Carvalho, and again Emmanuel Sanchez. It was during that period that he too won the Lightweight World Championship after defeating Micheal Chandler during Bellator 221. Making Patrico Pitbull a dominant champion.
Then the challenger, AJ McKee has multiple advantages heading into this fight. First and foremost he is only 26 years old, secondly he is currently undefeated. His record currently stands at 17 wins and zero losses. In addition, Mckee is taller, and has a further reach advantage. On top of that he also has the hometown advantage having been born and raised in Long Beach.
To add even more fuel to the grandeur of the event, Bellator 263 will be held at The Forum with a full capacity crowd. Due to Covid restrictions, the last time Bellator had an audience of this magnitude was pre-pandemic.
Scott Coker talked about the importance of having a crowd at this event, “I always believe that sports need fans and fans needs sports, fans are the oxygen of the people competing,” Coker says he wishes both Pitbull and Mckee luck and that he does believe “the fans can make a difference in the outcome of a fight.”
The press conference certainly did not end on a happy note. In fact, both men got in a heavy confrontation that ended with both men having to be seperated and Pitbull walking out of the media area after Pitbull told McKee that he would be beating him in front of his father. McKee even grabbed Pitbull's championship from the table and that certainly did not go over well with him.
Patricio Pitbull vs AJ McKee in the finals of Featherweight World Grand Prix takes place on July 31st. The Bellator 263 preliminary card begins on Bellator's MMA's YouTube channel at 4pm PT/7pm ET and then the main card begins on Showtime at 7pm PT/ 10 pm ET.