Bellator 253 went down on Thursday night, and saw the first of two featherweight grand prix semifinals go down in the main event.
That 145lb showdown featured former bantamweight champ Darrion Caldwell taking on the undefeated phenom A.J. McKee. Having spent the entirety of his career under the Bellator MMA banner, “The Mercenary” continued to impress — pulling off a slick neck crank submission from bottom in the opening round. The Submission of the Year candidate immediately cemented the fact that the 17-0 McKee is the real , and at 25 years old, he’s ready for bigger things.
In the welterweight co-main event, Jason Jackson won his third straight fight against UFC veterans. This time out, it was ex-UFC lightweight champ Benson Henderson. While still on the right side of 40, “Smooth” probably needs to eliminate further excursions up in weight, as 155lbs seems the better option at this point.
Full results and a gallery of highlights from Bellator 253 are available below.
Bellator 253: Caldwell vs. McKee Results
A.J. McKee def. Darrion Caldwell by submission (neck crank), Round 1, 1:11
Jason Jackson def. Benson Henderson by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Joey Davis def. Bobby Lee by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
Raufeon Stots def. Keith Lee by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Jeremy Kennedy def. Matt Bessette by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
Jaleel Willis def. Mark Lemminger by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Jay-Jay Wilson def. Sergio de Bari by KO (punch), Round 1, 0:20
Kaheem Murray def. Baby Slice by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Sullivan Cauley def. Jason Markland by TKO (punches), Round 1, 0:28