A.J. McKee wrote his name down in history on Saturday night with a first round submission victory over Patricio Freire to win the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix in front of his home town crowd at the Forum.
McKee was the fan favourite and his music was echoed by the audience as he walked towards the Octagon but Freire was a different case as he was met with boos. Everything seemed to work out for the challenger, who aggressively went to work after the early feel out period of leg kicks and missed combinations.
The fight which served as the main event of Bellator 263 lasted exactly 1:54 minutes, with McKee stunning Freire with a combination that ended with a head kick. Freire survived and tried getting back to his feet but McKee saw the end and jumped on his neck for a standing guillotine choke.
The referee wasted no time in jumping in to stop the fight as Freire wasn’t responding anymore.
The win for McKee ended a Journey that started out back in 2019 when he knocked out Georgi Karakhanyan. He went in to submit Derek Campos and Darrion Caldwell, with this now being his 18th straight victory. McKee has since finished 13 fights victorious since signing up with Bellator MMA.
Freire lost for the first time since 2015 and this snapped his seven fight winning streak which dates to his unanimous decision loss to Daniel Straus back in Bellator 145. Freire lost his featherweight title but still holds the Bellator lightweight (155 pound) title.