Bellator MMA is in San Jose, California for what is thus far its biggest card of 2022.
The championship doubleheader at Bellator 277 features featherweight king A.J. McKee in a rematch against the man he emphatically took the belt from last summer, Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire. In the other title bout, light heavyweight champ Vadim Nemkov takes on UFC veteran Corey Anderson in what doubles as the grand prix final, with the winner pocketing that $1 million grand prize.
Featherweight phenom Aaron Pico takes on short notice replacement Adli Edwards, while former interim heavyweight title challenger Tim Johnson battles England’s Linton Vassell in the main card opener.
Bellator 277 kicks off with a free live stream of the prelims, which can be watched at the top of the page starting at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT. Showtime has the main card at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT. You can watch the main card on Bellator’s YouTube channel if you live in other select international jurisdictions. BBC iPlayer has this card for the United Kingdom viewers.
Main Card (Showtime, 10 PM ET)
Patricio “Pitbull” Freire def A.J. McKee via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47x2).
Round 1: McKee charges across the cage and lands a side kick to the body. Body kick from McKee. Countered by Pitbull with a right. Body kick McKee. McKee off balance after a glancing left hook. McKee straight left. PItbull to the body. Inside leg kick by Pitbull. Another. Close round.
Round 2: McKee shoots, gets stuffed. Low kicks Pitbull. McKee tries a spinning kick. Pitbull tackles him but then stands. McKee stays on his back. Pitbull kicking at the legs before the ref stands McKee up. McKee throws a flying knee. McKee lands a big body kick. Pitbull seems to have hurt McKee with a left or might have been the headbutt. Right to the body by Pitbull. McKee shoots. Stuffed. Pitbull lands a right. Second round Pitbull.
Round 3: Pitbull lands a low kick. McKee glances a spinning back kick. Low kick Pitbull. Crowd restless. More low kicks. Pitbull tags McKee. McKee shoots in, gets the take down. Pitbull has full guard, looking for an elevator. McKee elbow drop. Pitbull threatens a guillotine! McKee escapes. A scramble and McKee attacks the back. Round ends.
Round 4: Championship rounds. They’re both firing at a methodical pace, nothing connecting. McKee lands a couple punch-kick combos. Pitbull lands a low kick. Pitbull counter left hook. AJ complains of an eye poke. Ref ignores him. Another round over. McKee’s corner telling him he won all four rounds.
Round 5: Side kick from McKee. McKee shoots, Pitbull sprawls but McKee keeps driving. Gets him down. Pitbull sitting up against the cage. Pitbull stands but McKee trips him back down. Climbing on Pitbull’s back. Pitbull stands up. They break. Overhand right Pitbull. Uppercut and 1-2 all Pitbull. 1-2 McKee. Another combo. Knee to the body from McKee. AJ gets the take down. Very hard to score this fight. Here come the judges.
Vadim Nemkov vs Corey Anderson declared No Contest after accidental clash of heads opens cut on Nemkov late in Round 3.
Round 1: Nemkov landing leg kicks early. Nemkov coming forward behind his jab. Another leg kick makes Anderson fall briefly. Right hand Nemkov. Anderson coming forward now, comes out behind in an exchange. Body kick Nemkov. Anderson swings and misses, Nemkov gets underhooks, flips Anderson into the cage. Nemkov lands a cross on the exit. Back to center cage. Lead left hook Nemkov. Anderson shoots. Drives Nemkov into the cage but gets stuffed. Nemkov lands hard on the break. Anderson landing a little more as the round runs out. Nemkov shoots for a single, stuffed. Uppercut Anderson. Anderson shoots as the round ends. Close but I’d give it to Nemkov.
Round 2: Head kick Nemkov to open. Anderson drives Nemkov into the cage. Corey makes a game effort but nothing doing. And Anderson tries again. This time he gets Nemkov down after switching quickly to a single leg. Nemkov on his back but he’s controlling Anderson’s hands. Nemkov in guard. Rolls back, tries for a switch. Anderson sprawls. Has Nemkov’s ankle in his left hand. Nemkov rolls to his back, Anderson dives into half guard. Anderson trying to open up from the top but Nemkov is keeping him from getting it going. Anderson passes to side control. Nemkov gets half guard. Hammer fist Anderson. Nemkov rolls free and stands. Now he’s got Anderson’s back standing. Anderson might be going for a wrist lock. Nemkov gets free of it, they break just as the bell rings. Advantage Anderson for a 1-1 fight after 2.
Round 3: Nemkov lands a right. Nemkov misses with a left. Anderson counters with a jab. Anderson lands a 1-2. Anderson driving forward, gets the take down. Anderson stacks Nemkov against the fence. Nemkov on his back in half guard. Nemkov preventing Anderson from firing away. Nemkov stands. Anderson drives for another double leg. Nemkov threatens with a guillotine! Anderson escapes. Spins to Nemkov’s back. Trying to hook a leg. Wraps his elbow under Nemkov’s chin. Nemkov rolls to his back. Anderson takes side control. Minute left. Nemov gets full guard. Anderson lands a right. Anderson landing lefts to the grounded champ. A pair of elbow drops. Joey Beltran calls time. Bad cut on Nemkov above his eye. The Dr calls the fight. Highlight shows the cut was from a clash of heads. How are they going to score this?
Aaron Pico def. Adli Edwards via TKO (strikes) at 0:55 of Round 3.
Round 1: Edwards shoots but Pico pulls a switch, grabs a leg and takes Edwards down. Pico gets to half guard but Edwards regains full guard. Pico dropping elbows. Edwards spins for an ankle and Pico stands. Pico lands a huge right. Throws Edwards down. Pico firing away! Edwards grabs him to slow the onslaught. Pico lets him up and lands a pair of left hooks. Quickly takes Edwards back down. Pico landing elbows from half guard. Pico lets him back up. Head kick lands for Pico. He lands a hurtful three punch combo. Edwards lands a spinning elbow. Pico puts him right down. PIco working for a front choke, Edwards stands. Pico lands to the liver. Edwards fires back. Edwards lands a mean right and takes Edwards down. Dominant round for Pico but Edwards survives.
Round 2: Some early exchanges then Edwards stumbles after a kick. Back to the feet. Pico landing hard combos standing. Another take down for Pico. Edwards rolls for a leg. Pico with a front headlock on the ground. Edwards fights back to his feet. Pico landing to the body. Big leg kick lands for Pico. Another hook hurts Edwards. Pico pursuing. Hurts him again and then another take down. Methodical beat down continues. Edwards has a huge lump on his head. Pico lands another left hook to the body when Edwards stands. Three punch combo hurts Edwards. Pico with another take down. Edwards survives another round. 2-1 Pico.
Round 3: Edwards lands a kick. Pico answers with a combo. They trade leg kicks. Advantage Pico. Huge right staggers Edwards. Pico pours it on, follows him down and forces the stoppage. TKO Aaron Pico.
Linton Vassell def Tim Johnson via TKO (strikes from mount) at 4:21 of Round 1.
Round 1: Early pause for a low blow from Vassell. They tie up with Johnson pushing Vassell against the cage. Vassell fights free. they clinch again. Back to cage center. Vassell lands a body kick and a punch before Johnson bullies him into the cage. Vassell gets double underhooks and drives him back. Johnson catches Vassell with a right! Follows up and he’s down. Johnson follows him down, landing a nasty and surely accidental headbutt. They scuffle and Vassell breaks free and then staggers to the ground. Johnson on him immediately. Blood everywhere. Vassell reverses and climbs up Johnson’s back. Vassell landing punches and elbows from the top. Vassell gets mount. More shots raining down. Johnson rolls to his belly. Vassell still punching and gets the stoppage!
Preliminary Card (Online, 7 PM ET)
Tyson Miller def. Rhalan Gracie via TKO (doctor’s stoppage) at 5:00 of Round 1
Tyrell Fortune def. Rakim Cleveland via TKO (strikes) at 1:38 of Round 1
Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov def. Rafael Carvalho via TKO (strikes) at 4:04 of Round 2
Bobby Seronio III def. Calob Ramirez via KO (punches) at 2:14 of Round 2
Gaston Bolanos def. Daniel Carey via TKO (strikes) at 4:59 of Round 1
Kyle Crutchmer def. Michael Lombardo via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Edwin De Los Santos def. Alberto Mendez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Rogelio Luna def. Socrates Hernandez via TKO (strikes) at 4:48 of Round 3
Laird Anderson def. JT Donaldson via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:44 of Round 1
Theo Haig def. Alan Benson via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:08 of Round 1