Is AJ McKee the best featherweight in Bellator?

AJ McKee

Last week at Bellator 253, AJ “Mercenary” McKee (17-0) made a massive statement. In the semi-finals of the Featherweight Grand Prix, McKee took on former bantamweight world champion, Darron Caldwell.

This was expected to be the toughest test yet for McKee inside a Bellator cage. The former bantamweight champion was a national champion wrestler, and he could hold his own on the feet as well. The fight was expected to be a war.

In reality, the fight was not very close. In the opening round at Bellator 253, Caldwell did a good job of using a low shot to take McKee down. Caldwell seemed content with staying in McKee’s guard while trying to land elbows.

McKee said all week that if he was taken down, Caldwell would have to constantly be working to keep him there. The Mercenary started throwing elbows off his back, but you could see the wheels turning in his head about something else.

After Caldwell landed a big elbow, he placed his head on the right side of McKee. Seemingly, he was going to try to setup another big elbow. However, McKee slid his arm through and locked in a neck crank that even most BJJ experts hadn’t seen before.

McKee locked his legs in a figure four and lifted his hips for maximum pressure. You could tell the squeeze had the former Bellator champion in all kinds of pain. He was forced to tap just one minute and eleven seconds into the first round.

Bellator’s Best?

AJ McKee is truly something special. He made his professional debut with Bellator back in 2015 just three days after he turned 20 years old. His entire career has been spent inside the Bellator cage. McKee is truly evolving into something special.

I truly don’t see a weakness in his game. He’s got great skills on the feet with decent pop. His accuracy is something that’s extremely impressive and I love his kicks. He also possesses very good wrestling, and he’s incredible on the ground.

McKee is going to be a nightmare for anyone that he faces. His next challenge will likely be the Bellator two-division world champion, Patricio Pitbull (31-4). Pitbull is also coming off of an incredible performance back at Bellator 252.

These two men just seem like they are on a collision course. Pitbull will have to face Emmanuel Sanchez (20-4) first in his semi-final matchup. However, Pitbull will be a massive favorite seeing as he has already defeated Sanchez.

The biggest fight that Bellator can make right now is the matchup between McKee and Pitbull. If this fight happens in 2021, it will be a huge spectacle for fans. McKee is on his way to superstardom and if he can dethrone Pitbull, he might have a claim as the best featherweight in the world.

AJ McKee remains perfect at Bellator 253

AJ McKee

Tonight, Bellator MMA returned with the continuation of their Featherweight Grand Prix. In the main event of the evening, AJ McKee (16-0) was looking to stay undefeated as he fought former bantamweight champion, Darrion Caldwell (15-3).

Caldwell was coming into tonight off back to back wins since moving up to featherweight. After Caldwell lost his bantamweight crown at Bellator 222, he decided he needed a little change of scenery so he decided to chase on million dollars in the Grand Prix.

McKee on the other hand is one of the hottest prospects in MMA. He’s not just the talk of Bellator, but the entire MMA community is buzzing about AJ McKee. The son of a former fighter, McKee was looking to punch his ticket to the Bellator Grand Prix finals tonight.

For the first time in his Bellator career, McKee would be taking on a fighter who on paper was a better wrestler. Caldwell was a national champion wrestler and we saw those wrestling skills right away in the main event.

Caldwell was able to land a takedown early on in the first round. However, McKee was extremely active from his back. Then out of no where, McKee locks up a neck crank from the bottom and Caldwell is forced to tap very early into the first round. Incredible performance by McKee.

AJ McKee defeats Darrion Caldwell by Submission (Neck Crank) – Round 1

What’s next after Bellator 253?

If you were not impressed with AJ McKee before Bellator 253, you have to be now. The undefeated phenom continued his dominance but this time he did it over a former world champion.

McKee is the total package and he’s going to be a nightmare for anyone in Bellator. He’s got incredibly slick striking and he is insanely creative in all aspects. That submission tonight truly came out of no where.

After tonight, McKee advances to the finals of the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix. He will wait for the champion, Patricio Pitbull, to face Emmanuel Sanchez which is likely going to take place early next year.

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