Patricio Freire vows to end ‘scared’ A.J. McKee’s perfect record in Bellator grand prix final

Mike Bohn and Nolan King
·2 min read

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Patricio Freire is fired up for Bellator featherweight grand prix final with A.J. McKee, and vows to give the youngster his first loss.

Freire (32-4 MMA, 20-4 BMMA) punched his ticket to the final round of the 16-man tournament on Friday when he submitted Emmanuel Sanchez in the first round of the Bellator 255 headliner, successfully defending his 145-pound belt to set up a showdown with McKee (17-0 MMA, 17-0 BMMA).

From the outset of the grand prix, a “Pitbull” vs. McKee final seemed like the ideal scenario for Bellator. It’s a fight that’s been brewing for years, and now that the stars have aligned, Freire said he has a big fight feel.

“It’s the perfect final for the movie,” Freire told reporters, including MMA Junkie, at the He’s undefeated, I am the champion. Let’s see what’s going to happen, and I know what’s going to happen. … I know he’s good. He’s young. But I told him, ‘To be a complete fighter is to be defeated.’ And he will be defeated by me.”


Bellator 255: Patricio Freire chokes out Emmanuel Sanchez to set up showdown with A.J. McKee

McKee has never fought in a title fight through his career. He was scheduled for five rounds throughout the tournament, where he’s beaten Georgi Karakhanyan, Derek Campos and Darrion Caldwell to reach the final. He didn’t need the judges for any of those bouts, but Freire said he intends to expose McKee for not belonging in the championship scene.

“It’s a fight of five rounds,” Freire said. “He’s going to come a place where it’s a competition fight for the belt. It’s different. The fight preparation – everything. Everything is going to happen. He knows my power. He knows I’m dangerous. I know he’s scared.”

Freire said he’ll be ready to fight McKee as soon as possible. Not only will the featherweight belt and grand prix title be on the line in the matchup, but the winner will receive a $1 million prize.

As the most decorated fighter in Bellator history, Freire said he’s not overthinking the next bout. He knows it’s a critical one with a lot on the line, but said he won’t be flustered as he pursues another crowning achievement.

“I know I am the No. 1 in the world, so it’s enough for me,” Freire said. “I know my records, I know my numbers, I know my titles. I know the meaning of them. … He’s been built up by Bellator for his whole career here at Bellator. He’s undefeated. He’s in the finals against me, so it’s going to be one of the greatest fights of all time.”


Twitter reacts to Patricio Freire's title defense against Emmanuel Sanchez at Bellator 255