Bellator’s featherweight grand prix comes to an end this Saturday night with one of the promotion’s biggest ever fights.
Emanating from The Forum in Inglewood, California, Bellator’s eight-man tournament comes to an end almost two years since its inception with two of their best talents making the final and a $1 million prize on offer for the winner.
Starting out the series as the 145 lbs champion, Patricio Freire (32-4) has successfully seen off three men en route to the final including two first-round submissions. Also reigning as the lightweight champion simultaneously – earning the championship with a 61-second KO of Michael Chandler – ‘Pitbull’ is perhaps the greatest fighter in the promotion’s history having accumulated a 20-4 record against the best Bellator has to offer.
Also running the gauntlet on the other side of the bracket, A.J McKee (17-0) has finished all three of his opponents in dominant fashion – including winning ReadMMA’s Submission of the Year. At just 26-years old, McKee is now one step away from fulfilling what seems his destiny having only fought under the Bellator banner while entering the sport tipped as the prodigy son of Antonio McKee.
Elsewhere at Bellator 263, the co-main event billing will look to decide the next challenger for the featherweight title as submission specialist Mads Burnell (15-3) will take on former champion and grand prix semi-finalist Emmanuel Sanchez (20-5).
The rest of the main card will solely feature lightweight contests as Usman Nurmagomedov (12-0), younger cousin of Khabib, takes on Manny Muro (12-6), former champion Brent Primus (10-1) squares off against Islam Mamedov (19-1-1) and Goiti Yamauchi (25-5) and Chris Gonzalez (6-0) open up the marquee portion of the fight card.