AJ McKee finishes Patricio Pitbull in the first at Bellator 263

AJ McKee

In the headliner of Bellator 263, we saw the featherweight title fight we’ve been waiting on. The final match of the Featherweight Grand Prix that featured a clash between Bellator champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (32-4) and AJ McKee (17-0).

When Bellator announced that they would be doing a Featherweight Grand Prix, fans started dreaming of the potential fight between Patricio Pitbull and AJ McKee.

Pitbull is the greatest fighter in the history of Bellator. The two-division champion has fought with the promotion most of his career and holds virtually every record. Coming into this fight tonight, he’s won seven in a row including back-to-back first round finishes.

Standing across from Pitbull at Bellator 263 is AJ McKee. McKee has been brought up by the promotion have his first professional fight with Bellator back in 2015. He’s been bread to be a superstar and the undefeated McKee had his chance to take the crown tonight.

Bellator 263 Recap

Round 1

The Bellator 263 main event started with a touch of the gloves. McKee opens up with a side kick to the lead leg of Patricio Pitbull. Another side kick lands for McKee. McKee holding the center as he lands another leg kick.

Pitbull starts bouncing as he seems to be gauging the challenger. Powerful kick lands for Patricio Pitbull. 90 seconds in and not a lot of action so far as both men appearing to feeling the other out.

McKee rocks Patricio Pitbull badly on the feet with a head kick. A big combination and Pitbull goes down. McKee thinks it’s over and he backs away, but the referee didn’t stop the fight.

McKee goes back in and he locks in a guillotine choke. It’s deep and Pitbull tries to fight it. However, he goes completely out and it’s over. AJ McKee is officially the Bellator featherweight champion.

AJ McKee def. Patricio Pitbull by Submission (Guillotine Choke) – Round 1

Sean Strickland dominates Uriah Hall at UFC Vegas 33

In the main event of UFC Vegas 33, we saw showdown in the middleweight division. Two top eleven contenders battled it out as “Primetime” Uriah Hall (17-9) took on Sean Strickland (23-3).

Entering UFC Vegas 33, Strickland has won four straight. He’s been incredibly active since a two year layoff that started back in 2018. Last October, Strickland made his return and he’s gone 3-0 in the UFC with one stoppage.

The stoppage was an incredibly impressive win over Brendan Allen. In his last fight, he defeated Krzysztof Jotko by decision which setup this UFC headliner opposite Uriah Hall.

Hall has been a curious case over the course of his UFC career. While having all the talent in the world, Hall really never lived up to the hype. That said, the soon to be 37 year old is riding a four-fight win streak into tomorrow night.

We last saw Hall at UFC 261 where he set a record. Hall defeated Chris Weidman after Weidman snapped his leg on a checked kick. It was the first time in UFC history that someone one by TKO without landing a single strike. Prior to that, Hall stopped Anderson Silva last October.

UFC Vegas 33 Recap

Round 1

The UFC Vegas 33 main event kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Hall started out the striking with a stiff jab. However, Strickland countered with a nice jab of his own. Hall was looking to use his movement, but Strickland started walking him down early.

Both men trade big shots at the one minute mark. Nice jab lands for Strickland. Strickland doubles up on the jab as he back Uriah Hall up. Another nice combination lands for Strickland and Hall is looking a little frustrated.

Good counter left hand for Uriah Hall. Powerful leg kick for Uriah Hall lands. Strickland goes right back to the jab and he’s keeping all of his shots down the middle early on. Lots of volume for Strickland and Hall might be hurt here.

Strickland is just walking Uriah Hall down here. Piercing jab lands for Sean Strickland. Nice counter from Hall stops the advances of Strickland. Powerful 1-2 lands for Sean Strickland.

Strickland is so busy here in the first round and Hall isn’t throwing a lot. Another good jab lands for Strickland. Hall starts moving a little more and lands a nice shot. The first round comes to a close and it’s 1-0 Sean Strickland at UFC Vegas 33.

Round 2

Entering the second round at UFC Vegas 33 and Uriah Hall is going to need to show more urgency in this round. Both men trade big jabs to start the second round. Hall seems a little more urgent to start this second.

Good 1-2 lands for Uriah Hall. Nice jab from Strickland lands. Clean combinations land for Strickland and Hall might be hurt. Hall backs against the cage and Strickland starts teeing off. Strickland shoots for a takedown, but Hall defends and they clinch against the fence.

Good uppercut from Strickland and the two break. Jab lands for Strickland, but Hall is the one moving forward here. Good overhand right hand lands for Hall. Hall pressing the action here, but Strickland is still landing good shots.

1-2 finds it’s home for Strickland. Hall lands a jab to the body then throws it up top. Big jab from Strickland lands. Hall being much more aggressive, but Strickland is still slightly getting the better of the striking. Hall lands a vicious calf kick then both men exchange big jabs. The round comes to a close at it’s 2-0 Strickland at UFC Vegas 33.

Round 3

Entering the third round at UFC Vegas 33 and Hall is building a little momentum, but he has to do more in the third. Third round starts with more pressure and jabs from Uriah Hall. Calf kick lands for Hall.

Good jab to the body for Hall lands and this is looking like a different Uriah hall. Hall using a ton of feints here and Strickland has barely thrown in the opening minute. Front kick to the body for Hall.

Strickland lands his first jab of the round and he doubles it up. The two exchange jabs and Hall is slowing a little here. Something happens and Strickland lands something that hurts Hall badly.

Strickland starts throwing bombs and this one looks like it’s almost over. Hall is breaking, but he gets up and he survives. Strickland has his back up against the fence and he slams him to the ground.

Hall is just holding on trying to survive here. Strickland looks like he’s trying to setup a choke and Hall is just holding on for the end of the round here. Good elbows from Strickland. Strickland gets Hall’s back just at the end of the round. 3-0 Strickland here at UFC Vegas 33.

Round 4

Entering the fourth round here at UFC Vegas 33 and it’s desperation time for Uriah Hall. Hall pushes forward with two jabs to start the fourth round. Strickland circles on the outside and lands a jab.

Powerful low kick lands for Uriah Hall. Strickland splits the guard with a nice jab, but Hall keeps pushing forward. Nice combination lands for Strickland and now Strickland is the one that’s pushing forward.

Hall’s corner is begging for him to let his hands go, but he’s not throwing a ton. Both men snap each other’s heads back with jabs. Hall is really struggling with the distance control here in the fourth. Strickland lands a couple of nice straight shots.

Hall answers back with a jab of his own. Another good combination lands for Sean Strickland. Big 1-2 lands for Strickland and Hall is wobbled. Strickland lands a few nice shots and Strickland gets a takedown. Two big knees land for Strickland and Hall is beat up here. The round ends and it’s easily 4-0 Strickland here at UFC Vegas 33.

Round 5

Entering the final round at UFC Vegas 33 and Hall needs a finish. Strickland is looking fresh entering this final round and Hall is wearing it. Hall pushes forward and he’s throwing heat to start the final round.

Strickland throws a big shot of his own that seems to back up Hall. Hall already fading after a furious pace in the opening minute. Strickland clinches Hall and pushes him up against the fence.

The two break and Hall looks exhausted. Hall is throwing with everything he has, but he’s so tired. Strickland is landing a lot of clean shots here. Both men lean on each other in the middle. Strickland looks like he can finish this at anytime.

Hall gets pressed up against the fence again by Strickland. Two minutes left and Uriah Hall is running out of time. Two 1-2s land for Strickland on the break. Strickland goes right back to the clinch after he lands.

Hall is nothing left here with one minute left. Strickland landing shots to the body in the clinch. More good shots from Strickland in the clinch. Hall forces a break, but he can’t land anything big. Strickland sticks to him like glue and this one is over. Dominant performance by Sean Strickland at UFC Vegas 33.

Sean Strickland def. Uriah Hall by Unanimous Decision (50-44, 50-45, 49-46)

UFC books Justin Gaethje – Michael Chandler

One of the most highly anticipated lightweight matchups has been officially booked. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report that the UFC has finalized a lightweight contest between Justin Gaethje (22-3) and Michael Chandler (22-6).

The fight is taking place at UFC 268 on November 6th. While it’s not official, the location for UFC 268 is supposed to be Madison Square Garden. The rematch between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington will headline the UFC 268 card. Chandler and Gaethje are expected to be the co-main event.

The UFC has been trying to book this fight for a while and it’s finally being booked. Michael Chandler was the big free agent signing for the UFC last year after his stint with Bellator. Chandler made his debut back in January and scored a first round knockout over Dan Hooker.

Following that win, Chandler got a shot at the vacant UFC lightweight title against Charles Oliveira. After a dominant first round, Chandler was stopped in the second round. Chandler took a little time off after the loss, but he’s ready to get back at it and the only fight he wanted was Justin Gaethje.

UFC return for Gaethje

This will actually be the first fight for Justin Gaethje since UFC 254 last October. Heading into that fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov, Gaethje was the interim lightweight champion. Gaethje was submitted in the second round by Nurmagomedov.

Since then, Gaethje has been taking some time off as he planned his next fight. Originally, the promotion was looking at having Gaethje and Chandler fight at UFC 262 for the vacant lightweight title. However, the promotion shifted gears and gave the shot to Oliveira who went on to capture the lightweight title.

Prior to his loss to Nurmagomedov, Gaethje had won four straight fights all by stoppage. This fight will seemingly line up with the title fight between Dustin Poirier and Charles Oliveira which is being targeted for the end of the year. The winner of this fight at UFC 268 will be the next in line for a title shot.

UFC Vegas 33 Preview: Uriah Hall – Sean Strickland

Tomorrow night in the main event of UFC Vegas 33, we will see a showdown in the middleweight division. Two top eleven contenders will battle it out as “Primetime” Uriah Hall (17-9) is taking on Sean Strickland (23-3).

These two men are very familiar with each other and they’ve trained with each other in the past. However, they are both in each other’s way at UFC Vegas 33 and one of them is wanting to make that next jump up in the middleweight division.

Entering UFC Vegas 33, Strickland has won four straight. He’s been incredibly active since a two year layoff that started back in 2018. Last October, Strickland made his return and he’s gone 3-0 in the UFC with one stoppage.

The stoppage was an incredibly impressive win over Brendan Allen. In his last fight, he defeated Krzysztof Jotko by decision which setup this UFC headliner opposite Uriah Hall.

Hall has been a curious case over the course of his UFC career. While having all the talent in the world, Hall really never lived up to the hype. That said, the soon to be 37 year old is riding a four-fight win streak into tomorrow night.

We last saw Hall at UFC 261 where he set a record. Hall defeated Chris Weidman after Weidman snapped his leg on a checked kick. It was the first time in UFC history that someone one by TKO without landing a single strike. Prior to that, Hall stopped Anderson Silva last October.

UFC Vegas 33 Prediction

I think you’re going to see a fun striking battle tomorrow at UFC Vegas 33. However, which Uriah Hall shows up will tell us a lot about how the fight is going to go. I’m expecting Sean Strickland to be the aggressor tomorrow night.

In a sense, that would play right into the playbook of Uriah Hall. Hall is a brilliant counter striker, however, we’ve seen him become way too passive in fights. When he’s passive, he can easily be outworked.

Ultimately, I think he’s going to get the job done at UFC Vegas 33. I think Strickland will have some success early, but I think Hall finds a huge shot in those middle rounds ultimately leading to his fifth straight win.

Prediction: Uriah Hall by TKO – Round 3

Bellator 263 Preview: Patricio Pitbull – AJ McKee

Patricio Pitbull Freire

Tomorrow night in the headliner of Bellator 263, we are going to see the featherweight title fight we’ve been waiting on. The final match of the Featherweight Grand Prix features a clash between Bellator champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (32-4) and AJ McKee (17-0).

This is such a massive fight for Bellator and they know it to. This is one of the few times where Bellator will be going head-to-head with the UFC as the UFC is back tomorrow night with UFC Vegas 33.

However, many eyes are going to be on Bellator 263. When the promotion announced that they would be doing a Featherweight Grand Prix, fans started dreaming of the potential fight between Patricio Pitbull and AJ McKee.

Pitbull is the greatest fighter in the history of Bellator. The two-division champion has fought with the promotion most of his career and holds virtually every record. Coming into this fight tomorrow, he’s won seven in a row including back-to-back first round finishes.

Standing across from Pitbull at Bellator 263 is AJ McKee. McKee has been brought up by the promotion have his first professional fight with Bellator back in 2015. He’s been bread to be a superstar and the undefeated McKee has his chance to take the crown tomorrow night.

Bellator 263 Preview

If I’m being completely transparent, I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited for a Bellator event. You have the greatest of all time in that promotion taking on the guy who looks like he can become a massive superstar in the sport.

It’s going to be a tremendous fight to see. Now, when breaking down the Bellator 263 main event, there’s going to be a few things I’m watching for. One thing is the size and reach of AJ McKee.

McKee is much longer and taller that Pitbull. He uses his length well on the feet and his length allows him to be incredibly slick on the ground. I could see him giving Pitbull some problems with his length.

On the other hand, the wrestling and counter striking of Pitbull can give McKee issues at Bellator 263. Pitbull is sensational on the ground and he has very strong wrestling. He has the skills to ground McKee and keep him there without getting submitted.

I’ve really gone back-and-forth over this prediction. I think if you’re looking for a safe bet, you pick Patricio Pitbull in this spot. However, my gut keeps telling me that McKee’s star will shine brighter even more tomorrow night. Call me a little crazy, but I’m picking the challenger tomorrow night.

Prediction: AJ McKee by Submission (Triangle Choke) – 3rd Round

BREAKING: New York Yankees acquiring Anthony Rizzo

anthony rizzo, yankees

Last night, the New York Yankees made a serious power move when they acquired Joey Gallo from the Texas Rangers. The Bombers have been historically bad by their standards from the left side of the plate and Gallo was set to provide a much needed boost.

Today, the Yankees had the opportunity to sweep the Rays. However, they were blown out and the day seemed like a down one for fans in The Bronx. However, Brian Cashman just did something that will turn that frown upside down for Yankees fans.

Jack Curry was the first to report this evening that the Yankees were closing in on a deal to acquire Anthony Rizzo from the Chicago Cubs. This deal came completely out of no where and now the Yankees are adding another power bat from the left side.

The Yankees Get Their Guys

Rumors started spreading today that the Yankees were looking to shop Luke Voit to potentially free up more salary. There were also rumors going around that the Yanks were still in talks with Colorado regarding Trevor Story. 

It was clear that the Yankees were looking to continue to add even after acquiring Joey Gallo. Anthony Rizzo has been a popular name on the block in recent weeks, but the bombers were never really tied to him.

The fit is obvious with Rizzo and he just looks like someone who should be wearing pinstripes. Earlier today, it appeared that the Red Sox had the inside track in acquiring the first baseman. However, Brian Cashman and the Yankees came out of no where to close the deal.

At this time, there’s no word on what’s going back to the Cubs in this deal. Rizzo is set to become a free agent after the season is over, but I wouldn’t be shocked if the Yanks make a move to extend him. Fun times are back in Yankee land after today’s loss.

BREAKING: Amanda Nunes tests positive for COVID-19; Out of UFC 265

UFC 265 has taken a hit today by losing the co-main event of the evening. ESPN reported today that the promotion’s two-division champion and the greatest female fighter of all time, Amanda Nunes (21-4), has tested positive for COVID-19.

Nunes was set to make her return to the bantamweight division to defend her UFC title against Julianna Pena (10-4). These two have some serious bad blood and many were looking forward to the fight.

However, the fight is going to be delayed. The UFC‘s chief business officer Hunter Campbell told ESPN that the plan is for the promotion to rebook the fight once Nunes is healthy and ready to go.

At this time there is no word on how Nunes is said to be doing after testing positive. However, given the language from Campbell, my guess is that she’s experiencing symptoms from COVID.

For now, it would appear that the new co-main event of UFC 265 will be the bantamweight contest between Jose Aldo and Pedro Munhoz.

Plans for the UFC title fight

As Campbell said, the UFC is fully planning on rebooking this fight when Nunes is ready to go. However, we really don’t have any idea of when that will be. We’ve seen some fighters be ready just two weeks after a positive test.

However, we’ve also seen some fighters experience symptoms that kept them out for extended periods of time. Khamzat Chimaev and Alexander Volkanovski are two that stick out.

Volkanovski was set to defend his UFC title against Brian Ortega in March, but after a positive COVID test, that fight was scrapped. Those two will now fight in September. In reality, September might be the target date for the Nunes – Pena title fight.

Another possibility could be November. At the beginning of November, the UFC is returning to New York for UFC 268 which is headlined by Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington. Don’t be surprised if you see this bantamweight title end up at MSG.

New York Yankees still in on Trevor Story even after acquiring Joey Gallo

Yesterday, Brian Cashman and the New York Yankees finally did what the fans were begging for. They went out and made a big splash on the trade market. The Yankees agreed to a deal with the Texas Rangers to acquire lefty slugger Joey Gallo.

The deal is still being finalized and has not been announced yet by either club. However, at this point, the only thing that’s being reviewed is medicals. The Yankees will get Gallo and reliever Joely Rodriguez for four prospects.

Mark Feinsand reported this morning that the Rangers will be paying most of Gallo’s remaining Salary. That gives the Yankees a little wiggle room to go out and make another deal before the deadline which they are planning on doing.

Most reporters were vocal about the fact that the Yankees were not done after acquiring Gallo. He was the big one in terms of the deals they wanted to get done, but the Yankees are still looking to upgrade the team.

Brian Cashman has apparently realized the drastic need to shakeup the club. The Yankees finally have a little momentum and it’s feeling good in Yankee Land right now. While I figured they would focus on pitching, they are apparently still in on a Colorado shortstop.

Yankees still going after Story?

Jon Heyman reported this morning that even after acquiring Joey Gallo, the bombers are still interested in bringing in Trevor Story. While Gallo is controlled through next season, Story will be a free agent after the season.

It’s worth noting that in the Gallo deal, the team didn’t give up a single top ten prospect to make the deal happen. With the Rangers paying most of Gallo’s salary, the Yankees have financial room and still have the best prospects in their system.

Those two things gives the bombers a ton of flexibility in terms of what they want to do next. I’m a bit surprised to hear that they’re still in on Story. It appears that the Yankees are on the warpath and are looking at all options to improve the club.

I was told yesterday and it was also reported that that Giants are serious players for Story. My hunch is that he ends up there, but the Yankees do like him and see him as a big improvement for the infield.

While the Yankees already completed a big deal, they are far from done. This should be a really fun winddown to the 2021 trade deadline.

Sound Off: Do you want the Yankees to get Trevor Story or should they focus on pitching?

Are the New York Yankees targeting Kyle Schwarber?

New York Yankees, Kyle Schwarber, Chicago Cubs

We are just a couple of days away from the trade deadline and the New York Yankees are making moves. Last night, The Bombers sent a clear signal that they plan on buying at the trade deadline this year.

The Yankees traded away Luis Cessa and Justin Wilson to the Cincinnati Reds. By trading Cessa and Wilson to the Reds, the Yankees freed up two roster spots and they freed up a little salary space.

It is being widely reported that Brian Cashman is engaged on a number of fronts. However, the Yankees seem to be maintaining that they will not deal the best prospects in their system at the deadline this year.

So forget your dreams of the Yankees potentially acquiring a Trea Turner. Instead, a lot of rental options are in play. Trevor Story has been linked to the Yankees for weeks and Jon Heyman reported that Cashman has made an offer to the Rockies.

Now, that offer was said to be weak and uninteresting to Colorado. However, it shows that Cashman is interested. There’s also been talks of Starling Marte, Max Kepler, and Joey Gallo.

Gallo and Kepler appear less likely to me at the moment because of the prospect premium that it would cost the Yankees. However, there’s a new name that’s generating interest on the market and it’s a name that Brian Cashman knows well.

Will the Yankees finally get their guy?

The Washington Nationals are in full sell-mode at the moment. It’s been reported that nobody outside of Juan Soto is untouchable for the Nats. Max Scherzer is expected to be dealt as soon as today.

Trea Turner could be on the block and despite nursing a hamstring injury, Kyle Schwarber is generating trade interest. Schwarber so far this season is hitting .253 with an OBP of .340. Not too mention the fact that he’s slugged 25 home runs and drove in 53 runs.

Schwarber swings it from the left-side which has been a monumental weakness for the Yankees. If the Yankees were to go out and acquire Schwarber, he would instantly be the team leader in both home runs and RBIs.

Schwarber is signed through this season with a mutual option and a buy-out after this season. Brian Cashman has always loved Kyle Schwarber. When the Yankees traded Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs in 2016, Schwarber was the guy they wanted.

However, they settled for Gleyber Torres in the end. Over the years, the Yankees have tried on numerous occasions to get Schwarber and it never worked out. Perhaps, this year could be the year.

Again, because of the injury, the interest is not known, but I guarantee the Yankees are interested. Schwarber could play in the outfield and he would give them the help they need from the left side of the plate. This is a name I would definitely watch between now and the deadline.

After being edged out at UFC Vegas 32, what’s next for Cory Sandhagen?

This past Saturday in the main event at UFC Vegas 32, we saw an instant classic in the bantamweight division. Former champion TJ Dillashaw (17-4) made his return as he took on the surging top contender Cory Sandhagen (14-3).

Heading into UFC Vegas 32, this was one of the most highly anticipated main events of the year. Dillashaw’s return combined with the rise of Sandhagen created a lot of intrigue around this main event.

Before the fight, I was expecting Sandhagen to pick up the win, but in a razor close fight. I just figured that he would be a bit sharper with having fought so much and I also just figured it was his time to shine.

TJ Dillashaw proved to be just as good as he was when he was champion on Saturday night. At UFC Vegas 32, Cory Sandhagen definitely did more damage overall when it comes to the striking.

However, Dillashaw did a great job of exploding when he needed to and utilizing a lot of control along the fence. Heading into the final round, it was truly anyone’s fight. I gave the final round to Dillashaw, but in reality, nobody lost at UFC Vegas 32.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 32?

Ultimately, two judges gave the fight to Dillashaw and he got the split decision win. However, as I said, there really wasn’t a loser on Saturday night. Yes, Sandhagen walked away with a loss on his record.

However, the match makers have already told him that he’s still only one win away from a title shot. While Dillashaw is getting the title shot next, Sandhagen is in virtually the exact same position as he was in before UFC Vegas 32.

So with that in mind, what’s next for The Sandman? To me, there’s only one fight that makes sense and it’s the fight the UFC should make. Cory Sandhagen needs to fight Rob Font (19-4) next.

Font has won four fights in a row and he’s ranked in the top five. Like Sandhagen, Font appears only one win away from earning a UFC title shot. The easy answer here is to have these two fight and the winner would get a title shot sometime in 2022.