A.J. McKee Subs Darrion Caldwell at Bellator 253, Advances to Featherweight Grand Prix Finals

By Tyler Treese Nov 19, 2020

Thanks to Bellator 253's main event, we now know one finalist for Bellator MMA's featherweight grand prix.

Darrion Caldwell was thought to be a major challenge for A.J. McKee, but the former Bellator bantamweight champion was unable to mount much offense. McKee (17-0) was able to latch in a neck crank after a successful takedown by Caldwell (15-4) that forced the former champ to submit at 1:11 of Round 1. McKee will now face the winner of Patricio Freire and Emmanuel Sanchez for the featherweight championship.

The welterweight co-main event saw former Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight champion Benson Henderson face off against former Legacy Fighting Alliance welterweight king Jason Jackson. "The Ass-Kicking Machine" was the larger fighter inside the cage and that size nullfied a lot of the wrestling of Henderson (28-10). With sharper striking, Jackson (13-4) was able to take a clear decision winning 30-27 on all three scorecards.

Welterweight prospect Joey Davis looked great against Bobby Lee. Davis (8-0) was able to control Lee (12-5) on the ground over 15 minutes of action. This led to the undefeated fighter earning a clear-cut unanimous decision win with scores of 30-26, 30-27 and 30-27.

The main card opened up with a bantamweight bout between Keith Lee and Raufeon Stots. Both men had their moments over 15 minutes but it was Stots (15-1) who did enough in the eyes of the judges. Three 30-27 scorecards awarded "Killa" a unanimous decision win over Lee (7-4).

In preliminary action, Jeremy Kennedy (16-2, 1 NC) dominated Matt Bessette (24-10, 1 NC) and picked up scores of 30-27, 30-26 and 30-26 in his favor; Jaleel Willis outstruck Mark Lemminger over 15 minutes to earn three 29-28 scorecards; Jay-Jay Wilson needed just 20 seconds to notch an impressive knockout of Sergio de Bari; Kaheem Murray (4-3) easily won a decision over Kevin Ferguson Jr. (3-3) picking up three 30-27 scorecards in the process; and Sullivan Cauley (1-0) needed just 28 seconds to finish Jason Markland (0-2) with punches and win his pro debut.
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