Nine months removed from their Bellator 263 bout, current featherweight champion A.J. McKee will defend his title against the man he took it from.
First reported by OC Register, A.J. Mckee will rematch former two-divsion champion Patricio Pitbull on April 15 in the headline bout. Emanating from sunny San Jose, CA, Bellator 277 will be co-headlined by the light heavyweight grand prix final between light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov and Corey Anderson.
A.J McKee (18-0, 18-0 Bellator) earned a submission victory over the younger Pitbull in the first round of their featherweight grand prix final in July. On that night McKee captured his first Bellator championship and cashed a $1 million check for his efforts.
McKee was dominant throughout the tournament, earning three straight stoppages on his way to the finals, starting with an eight second knockout of Georgi Karakhanyan at Bellator 228. From there, McKee would earn submission victories over Derek Campos and Darrion Caldwell in the quarter and semifinals.
In 18 career fights, all under the Bellator banner, McKee has earned 13 total finishes, seven submissions and six by way of knockout. McKee has the longest active winning streak in Bellator history and looks to keep that streak alive when he rematches Pitbull in April.
Patricio Pitbull (32-5, 20-5 Bellator) had won seven straight prior to being stopped by McKee in July. That streak began with a victory over Daniel Straus to reclaim the featherweight title he had lost to Straus 19 months earlier.
Pitbull would go on to face current UFC lightweight Michael Chandler for the Bellator lightweight title. Pitbull scored a first round knockout to add a second title to his mantle. Pitbull never defended the lightweight crown and opted to vacate the title on Oct. 6, less than three months removed from his featherweight title loss to McKee.
“If I lost [the title] at 145 pounds, I can’t be the champion at 155,” Pitbull stated on and episode of The MMA Hour. “The other side, I have my brother as No. 1 contender. If he keeps winning, he’s gonna fight for the belt and I’m not gonna fight my brother.”
Bellator 277 is scheduled to take place at the SAP Center in San Jose, CA on April 15. No additional bouts have been announced for the event as of this writing.
Featured image credit to Embed from Getty Images