Bellator 263 is taking place at The Forum in Inglewood, California on July 31st. The pay-per-view is being headlined by one of the most anticipated fights in Bellator history. Patrico Pitbull is defending his Featherweight Championship against AJ McKee in the finals of the Featherweight World Grand Prix for 1 million dollars.
This is being considered a historic fight because on one hand you have a dominant two division champion in Patricio Pitbull, who is currently holding the Featherweight championship belt and the Lightweight championship belt. Then on the other hand, you have AJ Mckee who is the undefeated and rising star. This fight could be the passing of the torch or it can solidify Pitbull’s legacy even further.
Therefore, ahead of the fight, Bellator held open workouts which gave members of the media a sneak peek into how both men train for the fight, additionally both McKee and Pitbull spoke about the upcoming fight during the media scrum.
Immediately McKee was asked about his thoughts headed into this exciting bout.
“He’s been holding the belt since I first stepped into the cage, he’s the man I’ve been after this entire time. This entire journey. With him avoiding me acting like he don’t know who I am and so forth, it doesn’t really add fuel to my fire but it shows me that he fears me, he doesn’t know what to expect, and that gives me even more of a reason to train harder because any man that is fighting off of fear that’s something to fear within itself. That’s been my main motivation to get a world title from him.”
AJ Mckee is coming into the fight as the hometown favorite having been born and raised in the city of Long Beach. The one thing both fighters have in common is that they have had very dominant victories throughout the tournament.
“For me it’s kill or be killed in there. That’s how it’s gonna go. I am gonna go out there, fight hard, fight smart and bring home that world title,” says McKee.
The first round saw McKee defeat Georgi Karakhanyan by knockout in 8 seconds. In the second round, even though McKee got hurt by a strong left hook from Derek Campos, he managed to quickly compose himself and ended up winning that fight by submission. In the third round McKee defeated Darrion Caldwell by submission in what was his only fight of 2020.
As for the two division champion, Patricio Pitbull, not only has he been making sure that he advances in the tournament but he also had to make sure to hold onto that Featherweight Championship, having defended it in every round.
The first round saw all 3 judges score the fight in favor of Pitbull, therefore defeating Juan Archuleta by unanimous decision. In the second round of the tournament, Pitbull defeated Pedro Carvalho by knockout in the 1st round. Emmanaul Sanchez was then beaten by Pitbull in the third round with the use of the guillotine choke .
One of the questions on everyone’s minds is, is it personal between McKee and Pitbull? Well according to McKee, it’s not. “It’s nothing personal with Pitbull... I do respect him given the accolades he’s accomplished in his career. But at the end of the day, this is a game of chess and he’s a pawn that’s in the way at the moment. So I have to remove him from the board. Nothing but respect for him.”
And while McKee seems fairly confident heading into this big fight, so does Pitbull. Many believe that McKee having the hometown advantage may be beneficial but Pitbull does not seem to share that same belief and also notes that one of McKee’s weaknesses during a fight is his nerves. “ I believe he is not comfortable right now, all his family and friends are here, I know it’s a lot of pressure, I know that,” said Pitbull during the media scrum.
Given that many are placing bets on this match, Pitbull places his own bet that he will defeat McKee via submission in the second round. ‘ He’s going to be beaten by me. I don’t get impatient. Nothing. I am ready for everything."
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.
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