A.J. McKee
The Mercenary

USA

Wins Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix
FeatherweightBellator
August 1, 2021
McKee defeated Patricio Freire via technical submission (guillotine choke) at 1:57 of Round 1 at Bellator 263 on Saturday at The Forum in Los Angeles.
ANALYSIS
The two took about a minute or so to feel each other out after the opening bell, but it was McKee who landed the first big offensive move of the fight. He attempted a head kick and caught Freire clean with his shin, which wobbled the younger Pitbull brother. In a follow-up blitz that ensued, McKee caught him with a clean uppercut that sent him to the canvas, and he immediately put both arms up in celebration. The problem was that referee Mike Beltran hadn't called off the fight yet. McKee quickly corrected the mistake, clamping on for a guillotine that was in tight. Pitbull refused to tap, but the bout was called off after his arm went limp. McKee is now the new champion at 145 pounds after sweeping the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix. He'll also get a $1 million check as the result of his efforts Saturday night. McKee is only 26 years old and a perfect 18-0-0 in mixed martial arts. The sky is the limit.
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Takes yet another step forward
FeatherweightBellator
December 15, 2018
McKee defeated Daniel Crawford via submission (anaconda choke) at 3:19 of Round 1 at Bellator 212 on Friday in Honolulu.
ANALYSIS
McKee came into this fight as a huge favorite, and he took care of business. He scored a takedown early in the fight and went to work from the top position. Crawford tried to scramble, but he ended up stuck in an anaconda choke. McKee has looked spectacular against this level of competition recently. However, the path forward is somewhat confused. Bellator clearly seems to be grooming him for contendership, but he shares a team with prospect Aaron Pico who also seems to be a future contender. One of the fighters is likely to move up to lightweight, but the timetable is currently unknown.
Decks John Macapa in the main event of Bellator 205 and improves to 12-0 as a professional
FeatherweightBellator
September 21, 2018
McKee defeated John Macapa via KO (punch) at 1:09 of Round 1 at Bellator 205 on Friday in Boise, Idaho.
ANALYSIS
McKee began his career with a series of quick finishes. Recently, he has had longer and closer fights. That trend ended in this fight. He came out looking to work at distance. Macapa rushed him and tried to close the distance. McKee threw a wild combination in close quarters. The first strike missed, but the second left hook caught Macapa and put him out cold. He could have kept throwing punches, but he stopped himself as Macapa was out. McKee had been set to face former champion Pat Curran at this event before he was forced out with an injury. Look for Bellator to give him another tough veteran for his next fight to see if they can get him into the title picture.
Controls distance with his striking against Justin Lawrence at Bellator 197
FeatherweightBellator
April 13, 2018
McKee defeated Justin Lawrence via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) at Bellator 197 on Friday in St. Charles, Mo.
ANALYSIS
McKee entered this fighting riding a ten-fight winning streak. In his previous fight, McKee had to overcome some adversity before coming back to win via submission in the third. It is clear from watching McKee, that he wants to be a quick and accurate striker. While that has not always been the case in his Bellator fights, he showed that here against Lawrence. He continually landed with his lead jab and followed with combinations. He still ate a few counters, but his striking defense continued to improve fight to fight. This was an all-around impressive striking performance from McKee, who will likely face a top featherweight contender in his next fight.
Survives adversity and scores third-round submission in the main event of Bellator 187
FeatherweightBellator
November 10, 2017
McKee defeated Brian Moore via submission (rear-naked choke) at 0:42 of Round 3 at Bellator 187 on Friday in Dublin, Ireland.
ANALYSIS
McKee had to deal with serious adversity for perhaps the first time in his career. Towards the end of the first round, landed some extremely damaging blows on McKee and stuffed a takedown. The blows appeared to deplete McKee's gas tank, and he spent the rest of the round and most of the second trying to avoid huge shots from Moore. In the third round, McKee came out recovered and dropped More with a combination. From there, he jumped on his opponent's back and finished the fight with a rear-naked choke. McKee improves to 10-0 as a professional with all his fights coming in the Bellator cage. It will be interesting to see who the promotion matches him with next. While he pulled out the victory, he certainly looked mortal against Moore.
Added to main event of Bellator 187
FeatherweightBellator
October 15, 2017
McKee will face Brian Moore in a featherweight contest at Bellator 187 on November 10 in Dublin, Peter Carroll of MMAFighting.com report.s
ANALYSIS
McKee is a 22-year-old fighter that has started his professional career with nine straight wins. The featherweight is a known rival of top Bellator prospect James Gallagher and has been given the opportunity to take Gallagher's fight slot at Bellator 187. A knee injury forced Gallagher's withdrawal and the cancellation of his bout. Now McKee will attempt to continue his victory run against Brian Moore, one of Gallagher's SBG teammates, in the main event.