This weekend’s Bellator x Rizin 2 event will see a massive change in the main event and the Lightweight World Grand Prix. On Tuesday night the promotions called a press conference for a special announcement where it was announced that former featherweight champion A.J. McKee was not medically cleared to compete in the tournament and was forced to withdraw from his fight this weekend against Patricky Pitbull. In place of McKee will be current RIZIN lightweight champion, Roberto de Souza.
Bellator President Scott Coker announced that the fight between Pitbull and de Souza will take place at a catchweight limit of 161 pounds. As for the Bellator Lightweight Grand Prix tournament, A.J. McKee will now be the first alternate for the tournament although the reason for his removal was only stated as not being medically cleared. This will be the second time that de Souza has competed in the Bellator-RIZIN crossover event, back in 2022 he suffered a decision loss to A.J. McKee in the first event between the two promotions.
Speaking to the media following the announcement, Patricky Pitbull said his goal doesn’t change despite the switch in opponents and his focus is to get the belt and the $1 million grand prize for the tournament winner.
— Mike Pendleton (@MP2310) July 26, 2023
“Change the opponent but my focus is the same. Take the victory and keep the eyes on the $1 million.”
Ahead of the event, Pitbull spoke with MyMMANews.com and discussed how special the matchup against A.J McKee was set to be, seeing how McKee and Patricky’s brother, Patricio, each have a win against each other over their two previous matchups.
The focus was not set on just defeating A.J. McKee and keeping the family rivalry going however, Patricky Pitbull made it clear that he wants the world title once again and he even more so, he wants a rematch in the Grand Prix with Usman Nurmagomedov, the man who dethroned Pitbull for the lightweight belt.
With de Souza now set to face Patricky Pitbull this weekend, here’s how the Bellator x Rizin 2 event currently stands:
- Patricky Pitbull vs Roberto de Souza (Lightweight World Grand Prix)
- Kyoji Horiguchi vs Makoto Shinryu (Inaugural Flyweight Title)
- Magomed Magomedov vs Danny Sabatello
- Veta Arteaga vs Kana Watanbe
- Andrey Koreshkov vs Lorenz Larkin
Mike Pendleton is a current contributor to MyMMANews while also hosting his “On The Mic” podcast and is a former Associate Producer at Sirius XM’s Fight Nation.
With a special passion for interviewing and talking to the very best around the fight game, you can read or listen to Mike’s work across his multiple outlets.
Follow me on Twitter: @MP2310