Why A.J. McKee prefers Emmanuel Sanchez over Patricio ‘Pitbull’ in grand prix final

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Danny Segura
·2 min read
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A.J. McKee hopes to meet a newly crowned champion in the Bellator featherweight grand prix final.

The 145-pound contender prefers to face Emmanuel Sanchez over current champion Patricio Freire for his next fight.

Freire and Sanchez meet April 2 in the main event of Bellator 255 in Uncasville, Conn., in a featherweight grand prix semifinal bout. Freire’s title will be on the line, and the winner will then defend against McKee in the finals on a date to be determined.

Although Freire is the more well known fighter, McKee (17-0 MMA, 17-0 BMMA) would rather fight Sanchez at the end of the tournament. And it’s not that McKee is dodging Freire, he just has plans for the current champ-champ at another time.

“I feel that just puts the icing on the cake in the 145-pound division alongside just to fuel the fire from previous altercations and just the badgering mouth that has been ran between him and I,” McKee said regarding Sanchez. “It’s time to put an end to that, so I wouldn’t mind whooping his ass and then moving up to 155 pounds and taking the belt from Patricio at 155. But regardless, I’m looking to eat the cake.”


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McKee has been vocal for years about wanting to move to different a weight class in the future. He hopes to become a two-division champion in Bellator.

But for now, having submitted former champion Darrion Caldwell in his last outing to move to the grand prix final, McKee is enjoying the down time and until he gets a name on April 2 for his next fight.

“I’m the type of person that can’t stop training until the job is done,” said McKee. “So I’m just staying active, staying busy, trying to enjoy the time off snowboarding little bit and enjoying life. Just not burning out, you don’t want to stay in the gym too long and then burn out. So I’m just enjoying life a little bit and have a week in, a week out. Once I see who the opponent is, that’s where I begin to take things serious.”