We’ve known for awhile that Bellator two-division champion Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire would be facing undefeated rising star AJ McKee in the finale of the featherweight tournament final, but now we know the when and where for this highly anticipated clash.
Officials announced on Wednesday that Pitbull vs. McKee will be the main event of Bellator 263 in Inglewood, California on July 31st. The main card will air live on Showtime with prelims available on a free live stream.
Freire (32-4) recaptured the Bellator 145 lbs title in 2017 in his fourth fight vs. Daniel Straus. After taking the lightweight belt away from Michael Chandler in 2019, Patricio entered the 16-man FW tournament and has been on an absolute tear. He bested Juan Archuleta by unanimous decision, knocked out Pedro Cavalho in the quarterfinals, then submitted Emmanuel Sanchez in the semifinals.
McKee (17-0) has been nothing short of spectacular throughout his time in Bellator, and truth be told he was the top opponent in mind to make a final opposite Patricio. He began his tournament with a quick KO of Georgi Karakhanyan, followed by an armbar finish of Derek Campos in the quarterfinals, then an unreal and unusual neck crank of Darrion Caldwell in the semifinals.
Other fights announced for Bellator 263 include Mads Burnell vs. Emmanuel Sanchez, Magomed Magomedov vs. Raufeon Stots, and Usman Nurmagomedov vs. Manny Muro.