Patricio Freire vs. A.J. McKee Tourney Final Set for Bellator 263 on July 31

By Jay Pettry Jun 15, 2021

One of the biggest fights in Bellator MMA history now has a date.

On Thursday night, MMA Fighting reported that the featherweight grand prix final will take place on July 31. At the event expected to be named Bellator 263, Patricio Freire (32-4) will come to blows with A.J. McKee (17-0) with the 145-pound throne, the million-dollar prize and significant pound-for-pound consideration on the line. Sherdog.com has since confirmed the date of the event with a source close to the situation.

Current two-division champ Freire – “Pitbull” is the featherweight and lightweight champ concurrently – will put his title up for grabs at 145 pounds and look to extend his promotional record for the most consecutive defenses in one reign. Since suffering a broken leg against Benson Henderson in 2016, Freire has looked nigh-unbeatable as he racked up wins over the likes of Michael Chandler, Daniel Straus and Emmanuel Sanchez twice. “Pitbull” holds or is in contention for most of the top records in Bellator history including most fights, wins and finishes.

While “Pitbull” has seemed nearly unbeatable on his current run, McKee has been completely unassailable since turning pro in 2015. “The Mercenary” has racked up 17 straight wins with the promotion, far and away the most of any Bellator fighter. His Bellator-high winning streak of 17 eclipses among any major organization, surpassing names like Georges St. Pierre, Jon Jones, Kamaru Usman and Anderson Silva. In this tournament, the Team Bodyshop standout has recorded victories over Pat Curran, Georgi Karakhanyan, Derek Campos, and most recently, a “Submission of the Year”-winning neck crank of Darrion Caldwell.

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