Patricio Freire reclaims title in rematch against AJ McKee at Bellator 277

Patricio Freire reclaims title in rematch against AJ McKee at Bellator 277

Patricio Freire is champion once again

Bellator MMA returns to us tonight, April 15, 2022, for Bellator 277, going down live on Showtime at the SAP Center in San Jose, California.

Headlining the event is a featherweight championship rematch between new Bellator featherweight champion AJ McKee (18-0), who faces Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire (32-5) in the five round main event of the evening.

Co-headlining the card is a light-heavyweight championship bout between Vadim Nemkov (15-2) and no. 1 ranked Corey Anderson (16-5).

Reverting back to our main event, our new champion just finished the former champion in under two minutes, to everyone’s surprise. He nearly knocked Freire out with a head kick, and Freire woke up in a guillotine choke.

This young kid had just submitted the best Bellator talent we’ve ever seen, a BJJ black belt, and did so handily.

How does the rematch go? Does Pitbull get his belt back, or is McKee really that good?

Continue reading to see how this epic featherweight championship rematch went down:

Official Result: Patricio Freire def. AJ McKee via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47)

McKee opens the bout up with a nasty side kick that lands to the body of Pitbull and we’re underway.

This fight is already much different than their first; Pitbull is controlling the distance much better and appears to be the better boxer of the two. He lands a number of nice inside leg kicks, while McKee lands a number of nice round kicks to the body.

After a very close first round, it would appear Pitbull won the second. McKee shoots on two takedowns, which Pitbull easily stuffs, and Pitbull begins to land some nice punches to the body of the champion.

Pitbull is beginning to pick McKee apart, and catches him with a beautiful overhand right that drops him. However, McKee is able to secure a takedown immediately following; it was a panic shot, and it wasn’t pretty, but he was able to chain something together.

McKee remains on top for the final three minutes of the round, though he gets locked up in a very tight guillotine choke. He’s able to survive though and remain on top, and we’re headed to round four, McKee’s first time doing so.

And it shows, McKee begins to fade and Pitbull begins to land more offense with his crisp boxing. McKee gets poked in the eye with a couple minutes left in the round, without the referee seeing it, and the rest of the round is all the former champion.

Unfortunate for McKee, his father tells him that he’s up all four rounds going into the fifth, when that can’t be true. It’s either 2-2, or Pitbull is up 3-1.

McKee goes straight in for a takedown to start the fifth, and he secures it. Keeping top position for maybe a minute, Pitbull is back to his feet, but not before being dragged right back down.

McKee isn’t able to remain on top long though, and with three minutes left they’re back to striking.

The striking was pretty even through the final minutes, but Pitbull starts to go for it and really try to knock McKee out. He lands some heavy shots, but gets overeager and is put on his back once again and ends the fight in a disadvantage position.

In all honesty, this fight was much closer than the scorecards make it seem.

Does this propose a trilogy?

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Brady Ordway
I became a fan of combat sports when I was 12 years old. I was scrolling through the channels and landed upon Versus, where WEC was televised. Urijah Faber fought Jens Pulver for the second time that night. That's the first fight I ever saw, and I was immediately hooked. So eventually, I began covering the sport in the fourth quarter of 2018, and have since started writing about animals as well. If you'd like to see those pieces, be sure to check out!