A.J. McKee tasted his first professional loss last night (Fri., April 15, 2022) at Bellator 277 live on Showtime from inside SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., when the Bellator MMA featherweight champion dropped his title in a rematch against Patricio Pitbull.
McKee, who submitted Pitbull in their first meeting back at Bellator 263, was the betting favorite entering the rematch. The previously undefeated champion was talking a big game during fight week, pumping himself up for another highlight-reel performance. However, Pitbull rolled out a patient gameplan that broke down McKee over the course of five rounds and allowed the Brazilian to recapture his 145-pound crown.
Despite this being the first loss of McKee’s mixed martial arts (MMA) career, the young fighter handled it pretty well after the fight. McKee didn’t make any excuses for his performance, but did mention that he’s done competing at the featherweight level. The cut seems to take a big toll on the 27-year-old fighter and McKee wants to avoid any unnecessary damage to his body moving forward.
“At the end of the day, it’s back to the drawing board. Shit, I want my rematch at ‘55 then,” said McKee during Bellator 277’s post-fight press conference. “Like I’ve been telling ya’ll, I’m done with ‘45, unless we get some super-fights going.
“I’ve been at ‘45 for years and years and years, cutting a lot of weight. I don’t think people want to see what goes into it,” he said. “It’s a lot of work not just myself, for my team, for my family. It’s rough seeing me get down to ‘45s.”
Assuming McKee intelligently builds himself up for a move up to lightweight he should have no trouble fitting in. The former Bellator featherweight champion sports a big frame and should be able to benefit from a less grueling weight cut. McKee would also be interested in running it back a third time with Pitbull as long as the fight happens at 155 pounds.
“Sure, (I’m open to a trilogy) at ‘55. Why not? Faster, stronger, bigger. Yeah, I’m gonna unleash that beast. Monster-style, baby.”
For complete Bellator 277 results and coverage click here.