Bellator 263: Pitbull vs. McKee Official for Los Angeles on July 31

Patricio Pitbull and AJ McKee following Bellator 255
Patricio Pitbull and AJ McKee following Bellator 255 Credit: Bellator MMA

The Bellator Grand Prix Final will take place on July 31 at the Forum in Inglewood as Patricio “Pitbull” Freire meets AJ McKee.

The highly anticipated Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix final between Patricio Freire and AJ McKee is official for July 31, and it will be taking place in Los Angeles.  The news was made official on Wednesday after much speculation that the city was be the frontrunner for the event.  The event, Bellator 263, will be taking place at the Forum in Inglewood, making it the first time since early 2020 that Bellator has left the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Notably, the state of California lifted restrictions on June 15.

Patricio “Pitbull” Freire is on an impressive eight fight win-streak with two victories over both Emmanuel Sanchez and Daniel Wiechel, a victory over former Bellator champion and recent UFC title challenger Michael Chandler, and a victory over current Bellator bantamweight champion Juan Archuleta.  Freire currently holds records for most victories overall, victories in title fights, finishes, and more in Bellator and is widely considered the best fighter in the world who is not in the UFC.

Undefeated AJ “The Mercenary” McKee has fought his entire professional career in Bellator and has accumulated 17 victories in over five years with the promotion.  In 2019, McKee was named the top fighter under 25 years old by ESPN.  McKee enters the bout after roughly an eight month layoff as he completed his semifinal bout last November.  Because Bellator went on hiatus last March due to the pandemic, Freire was unable to complete his quarterfinal bout until late that summer and completed his semifinal recently in April.

Several undercard bouts have been reported including:

  • Magomed Magomedov vs. Raufeon Stots
  • Mads Burnell vs. Emmanuel Sanchez
  • Usman Nurmagomedov vs. Manny Muro
  • Kiefer Crosbie vs. Georgi Karakhanyan