Los Angeles, CA — Patricio Pitbull was on the wrong side of history in the Bellator 263 main event.
Pitbull, the now-former double champ at featherweight and lightweight, had for several years been the promotion’s most dominant figure. Since his knockout of Michael Chandler in 2019, he had set record after record, and was considered my many the best featherweight outside the UFC.
On Saturday, A.J. McKee put a stop to that talk. In the featherweight grand prix finale, a fight that lasted under two minutes, McKee rocked and dropped Pitbull with a head kick. Though he celebrated a knockout win prematurely, as Pitbull made it back to his feet, moments later, McKee choked the champion out with a standing guillotine.
“On this night, he was great. He kicked my head, and he almost knocked me out, and he almost finished me, in the same night,” he told Cageside Press during the Bellator 263 post-fight press conference. “So he was good. Congratulations. Now he’s the champion.”
Almost finished him. Pitbull believes that he wasn’t necessarily out in the choke — though he appeared to admit that yes, he was on his way to sleep.
“I watched the fight. I knew I wasn’t asleep, but I saw my hands [dropping] slowly,” noted Pitbull. “I was standing, but rules. That’s it. A fighter wants to fight until the end. That’s my mind.”
It’s highly unlikely that there will be much outcry over the finish, however. Especially given that even before the choke, Pitbull had already been rocked and was close to being finished. But regardless, talk will now turn to a second fight with McKee. Perhaps for Patricio Pitbull’s other title, at lightweight.
Before any of that, however, the Brazilian fighter wants a little bit of time off. “I spent a lot of years without being defeated, and today’s a new day for me. It’s a different kind of feeling,” he said Saturday at The Forum in L.A. “I want to rest a little bit, enjoy my son, my wife. But I will come back stronger, I know that.”
Pitbull’s coach Eric Albarracin later suggested that any rematch should be in Brazil.
“If we do something like that, this time I’d like for it to be in Brazil,” Abarracin stated, noting Pitbull’s numerous accolades in Bellator, including holding the most wins in the company.
“Why are we fighting in Los Angeles?” Albarracin questioned. “He’s the champ-champ, we’re fighting in the challenger’s home town.” Noting that 99% of the support was for the challenger, given his and his father’s roots in the area, the coach suggested that Pitbull should get the same treatment. “Great, he [McKee] won. Let’s do it in Brazil next. For one time. One time, bring it to Brazil for the champ.”
Watch the full Bellator 263 post-fight press conference with Patricio Pitbull above.