In the main event of Bellator 277, arguably the two best fighters in the promotion battled for the second time. The featherweight title was on the line as AJ McKee (18-0) took on the former champion Patricio Pitbull (32-5).
These two men previously fought back at Bellator 263 last July. That night, McKee rocked Pitbull on the feet before submitting him with a standing guillotine. It was a crowning moment for the biggest superstar in Bellator.
McKee made his professional debut with Bellator but it took him 17 fights to get a title shot. However, he didn’t waste that opportunity when he got it. When he won, he shook up Bellator and knocked off the winniest fighter in the promotion’s history.
Prior to the loss to McKee, Pitbull hadn’t lost at 145 since 2015. He was a dominant champion who held the lightweight and the featherweight titles. However, he’s vacated the lightweight title and made defeating McKee at Bellator 277 his primary focus.
Bellator 277 Recap
The Bellator 277 main event with a touch of the gloves and here we go. McKee runs at Pitbull and he lands a side kick to the body. Pitbull looks composed and McKee lands a nice body kick. Solid right hand lands for Pitbull and McKee circles.
Lead right hook for McKee. Another body kick from McKee and he’s taunting Pitbull here trying to get him emotional. Pitbull looks very focused as he holds the center but he eats another body kick from the champion. Low kick lands for Pitbull.
Another nice leg kick from Pitbull and he just misses a left hook. McKee bouncing on the outside here trying to hold the range. Nice body shot lands for McKee. Left straight and a solid right hand behind it lands for the champion.
Body shot lands for Pitbull and then he lands a low kick. Pitbull is going a good job of holding the center here in the first round. Another powerful leg kick lands for Pitbull and McKee looks to counter.
Back to the leg kick again for Pitbull. Left straight glances for McKee, but he eats two big leg kicks from Pitbull. Stiff jab from the champion and then Pitbull blasts him with another leg kick. The first round comes to a close at Bellator 277 and the former champion might’ve taken that one.
Entering the second at Bellator 277 and this is a much more competitive fight than the first one. Both men meet in the center to start the second round. Head kick attempt misses for Pitbull but he lands a nice calf kick after the miss.
Big 1-2 just misses for McKee. Takedown attempt from McKee easily defended by Pitbull. Pitbull holding the center again and he lands two big calf kicks. Those kicks are starting to add up for the former champion.
Body kick from Pitbull and McKee tries to counter with a left but misses. Another nice leg kick from Pitbull lands. Leg kick from Pitbull and then he blitzes with a combination. McKee tries to counter but nothing is home.
Spinning attack from McKee and Pitbull gets his back. McKee rolls to get the fight to the ground, but Pitbull stands back and gets the fight back standing. 1-2 from McKee finds the mark. Now it’s McKee trying to push the pace but he’s not landing anything big.
Body kick from McKee but Pitbull counters with a big counter calf kick. McKee pushes forward but it’s Pitbull that lands the cleaner shots. Huge right to the body from Pitbull lands. McKee shoots for a takedown and it’s defended well. Two rounds in the books at Bellator 277 and it’s 2-0 Pitbull.
Entering the third at Bellator 277 and AJ McKee really needs to get going here. Pitbull immediately takes the center again to start the third round. McKee taunting Pitbull but he’s not really throwing. Big low kick lands for Pitbull.
Spinning back kick just misses for the champion. Another nice leg kick lands for Pitbull. McKee lands an outside leg kick of his own. Left straight lands for McKee and then Pitbull blasts him with two straight leg kicks.
Big right hand lands for Pitbull and that hurt McKee. McKee is wobbled but he goes for a takedown. He’s desperate and he gets the takedown. Half of the round is left so there’s plenty of time for the champion to work if he can keep Pitbull down.
Two nice elbows land for McKee. Really good short shots landing for McKee and Pitbull explodes up to his feet using the fence. McKee shoots for a takedown and Pitbull jumps on the guillotine choke. It’s really deep and McKee is in all kinds of trouble.
Pitbull is squeezing and McKee is trying to get his head free. It’s so tight but McKee pops his head free. McKee goes right back on the attack at the end of the round. The bell sounds and that’s a tough one to score, but regardless, Pitbull is still ahead at Bellator 277.
Entering the championship rounds at Bellator 277 and McKee might need a finish in these last couple of rounds. Not a lot of action here in the first 30 seconds as McKee lands a low kick and the crowd is getting restless. Leg kick lands for Pitbull.
Straight left to the body lands for McKee. Head kick attempt from Pitbull is blocked. Neither man doing a ton as we are two minutes into the fourth round. Body kick from McKee and he lands a nice straight left behind it.
Lead right hook for McKee who seems to be opening up a bit more. Another nice shot down the middle lands for the champion. Pitbull presses forward but it’s throwing much. Jab lands for McKee. Left hook to the body for Pitbull.
McKee throws a couple of combinations but nothing lands clean. Right hand lands for Pitbull. Check right hook for McKee and a counter left hook lands for Pitbull. Left hand lands for McKee. Body shot for McKee.
Right straight lands for Pitbull then he accidentally pokes McKee in the eye. McKee complains but no stop in the action. Pitbull trying to attack but can’t land the big shot. McKee holding his own. Sloppy takedown attempt from McKee is easily defended by Pitbull. The round comes to a close and it’s a close one at Bellator 277.
Entering the final round at Bellator 277 and AJ McKee very well might need a finish in this final round to retain his title. They touch gloves and here we go. McKee throws a jab then shoots for a takedown. Pitbull defends, but McKee is able to keep a body lock.
McKee pushes Pitbull to the fence and he drags him down to the ground. Big moment for the champion, but Pitbull has the fence that he can use to get back to his feet. Nice elbow lands for McKee. Pitbull gets to his feet, but McKee drags him right back down to the ground.
McKee gets the back of Pitbull but he only has one hook in. Pitbull scrambles and they are back to striking. Nice elbow on the break lands for the champion. Lead left lands for McKee. Low kick lands for AJ McKee and he’s definitely winning this final frame thus far.
Nice left straight lands for the champion. Another 1-2 for McKee and he goes for a takedown, but Pitbull shrugs him off. Now it’s Pitbull coming forward with two minutes left. Big combination from McKee and he lands a body kick on the exit.
Pitbull answers with a nice combination of his own. One minute left here at Bellator 277. Uppercut from Pitbull and McKee lands a 1-2. Back-to-back 1-2’s land for McKee and he’s trying to come on strong here.
Now it’s Pitbull that charges, but McKee gets a takedown. The round comes to a close and the final round definitely goes to the champion. This is going to be a very close decision.
Patricio Pitbull def. AJ McKee by Unanimous Decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47)