Bellator 253 Preview: AJ McKee – Darrion Caldwell

AJ McKee

Bellator returns tomorrow night with the continuation of their featherweight grand prix. Tomorrow night’s headliner is the first semi-final matchup where the undefeated phenom, AJ McKee (16-0), will take on former champion, Darrion Caldwell (15-3).

Caldwell is the former Bellator bantamweight champion of the world. When he was crowned the champion at 135 pounds, Caldwell had only lost one fight in his career to Joe Taimanglo. However, he immediately avenged that one loss in his next fight.



Caldwell looked poised to have a long reign in the Bellator bantamweight division until he ran into Kyoji Horiguchi. Caldwell fought Horiguchi over in Rizin and lost by submission. Bellator then brought Horiguchi over to Bellator to face Caldwell in a rematch.

That fight went the distance, but the result was the same. After suffering back to back losses, Caldwell decided to move up to featherweight. He’s looked dominant at 145 winning both of his first two matchups.

AJ McKee is such a dynamic talent for Bellator. The undefeated McKee is dangerous wherever the fight goes. He’s got slick submissions on the ground and he has tremendous kickboxing skills on the feet.

Out of his 16 professional wins, only five have gone the distance. However, only one fight in his last five has gone to the judges scorecards. In his last four finishes, McKee has two first round knockouts and two third round submissions. Showing off his diverse skillset.

Bellator 253 Prediction

The odds have been drastically shifting for the Bellator 253 main event. When the odds first opened, they were extremely even. However, there are some lines that are showing McKee upwards towards a -300 favorite.

I think McKee should be the betting favorite, but those odds are off in my opinion. I think this fight is going to be very close. Both of these men have such well rounded games that it will look like a chess match at times.

I think we will learn a lot from the striking in the first round. To me it’s going to come down to who is more efficient and quick with their shots in this one. I think Caldwell is so good, but I think McKee is just a little better wherever the fight goes. It’s close, but I think McKee stays perfect.

Prediction: AJ McKee by Unanimous Decision

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