And so it comes down to this: the two top 145lb fighters in Bellator MMA, finally going head-to-head in the featherweight grand prix finale.
You couldn’t have written a better ending to the tournament if you tried. Short of some Hollywood twist, anyway. But for once, an MMA grand prix tournament has resulted in exactly the match-up desired. Bellator 263 will see double champ Patricio Pitbull put his title on the line against A.J. McKee. Pitbull has long been the biggest thing going in Bellator not named Michael Chandler, and when Chandler made his exit last year, Pitbull became the man in the promotion.
A.J. McKee has been chasing that dog for a while, however. Undefeated at 17-0. Every single fight in his career inside the Bellator MMA cage. The fastest knockout in divisional history. A Submission of the Year neck crank in 2020. Did we mention 17-0?
In the co-main event, UFC veteran and former Cage Warriors champ Mads Burnell takes on multi-time 145lb title challenger Emmanuel Sanchez. But whatever Saturday brings on the undercard, from Vanessa Porto to Usman Nurmagomedov to Zabit Magomedsharipov’s little brother, the main event is what fans came to see.
Full results from Bellator 263 can be found below. A live stream of the preliminary card action is available above, and viewers outside the Bellator broadcast footprint, including Canada, can catch the main card action below.
Bellator 263: Pitbull vs. McKee Results
A. J. McKee def. Patrício Freire (c) by technical submission (guillotine choke), Round 1, 1:57 – for the Bellator featherweight championship/featherweight grand prix finale
Mads Burnell def. Emmanuel Sanchez by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Usman Nurmagomedov def. Manny Muro by KO, Round 1, 3:30
Islam Mamedov def. Brent Primus by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Goiti Yamauchi def. Chris Gonzalez by TKO, Round 1, 3:53
Vanessa Porto def. Ilara Joanne by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Gadzhi Rabadanov def. Daniel Carey by TKO, Round 1, 3:57
Khasan Magomedsharipov def. Jonathan Quiroz by TKO, Round 2, 4:21
Joshua Jones def. Johnny Cisneros by TKO, Round 2, 4:15
Georgi Karakhanyan def. Kiefer Crosbie by submission (arm-triangle choke), Round 1, 4:25
Brian Moore def. Jordan Winski by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)