Fighters react to the Bellator 263 main event of Patricio Pitbull vs. AJ McKee
In the biggest fight of his professional MMA career, and the biggest fight in Bellator MMA history, AJ McKee has become the first man to submit Patricio “Pitbull” Freire, remaining undefeated, winning the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix and becoming the new Bellator featherweight champion in the main event of Bellator 263.
The bout was the battle of Freire, champ-champ and arguably the face of Bellator MMA, taking on a homegrown talent who has been slowly and surely built into a prominent Bellator name.
Freire, whose featherweight title reign began at Bellator 178 four years ago, advanced into tonight’s final with a unanimous decision over Juan Archuleta, a knockout of Pedro Carvalho and a submission of Emmanuel Sanchez.
McKee’s tournament path saw him score an eight-second knockout of Georgi Karakhanyan and submissions of Derek Campos and Darrion Caldwell — the latter of which earned him the 2020 Submission of the Year.
Fellow fighters join the MMA community in going berserk after AJ McKee makes history and wins the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix, featherweight championship
After a quiet first minute of the fight, in which both men felt each other out, McKee landed a high kick and stunned Freire. McKee landed a couple of more shots and thought the fight was over, raising his hands in celebration. But the referee did not step in.
Instead of paying the price, however, McKee managed to lock in a standing guillotine and put render Freire unconscious, giving him the championship and tournament title.
See how MMA pros reacted to McKee winning the Grand Prix.
Bellator 263 took place on July 31, 2021, live from Forum in Los Angeles, CA. Follow along with FanSided who was cageside for all your live news and highlights.