Los Angeles, CA — Antonio McKee knows what Patricio Pitbull is capable of. He also knows just how good son A.J. McKee is.
Ahead of Bellator 263 next week, the Team Bodyshop head coach gave his take on the Bellator featherweight grand prix finale. The bout pits son A.J. against champ Pitbull with a million dollars, plus the title, on the line.
“Pitbull is a monster. We know that. But this fight, at this time, his style versus his style, it’s completely a disadvantage,” Mckee told Cageside Press on Thursday, in an exclusive interview following the Bellator 263 open workouts. “And I think everybody knows it. You look at the bet lines, they’re real close.” What people don’t expect, however, is a finish, McKee added. “I think A.J. is going to finish Pitbull no later than three rounds. I just don’t see how he’s going to keep up with this young, active, long, strong [fighter]. And I think personally, A.J.’s jiu-jitsu is way better than Pitbull’s.”
The way McKee, a former fighter himself and lightweight pioneer, sees it, “Pitbull is a one-dimensional fighter. It’s a guillotine, or knock you out. But if you’re not there to get hit and you’re not shooting, how does he win?” McKee believes Pitbull will need to stay on the outside and try to work his way in. “Then he’s going to get knocked out, because he’s got to come forward. He’s not a come-forward fighter, he’s a counter-fighter coming forward. So we’ve practised a lot on it, we’ve done what we need to do, and I think A.J.’s going to be okay.”
His take on his son? “I see a kid that’s underrated, over-talented.” McKee listed the undefeated, 17-0 fighter’s hit list, noting names like ex-champ Pat Curran, a record setting finish of Georgi Karakhanyan, and more.
“You be the judge. I don’t have to say much,” stated McKee. “We’ve shown time and time again, how brilliant [he is], how adversity means nothing to him, it actually fuels him. And so this is why I think that people need to get behind him, but we’re just now getting what we want as far as promotion. I told him, you focus on this, and it’s going to be your time, and here we are, five years later, and we’re about to beat the greatest fighter in the history of Bellator.”
Watch our full interview with Antonio Mckee ahead of Bellator 263 above. The event takes place Saturday, July 31 at The Forum in Los Angeles, California.