The culmination of the nearly two-year featherweight tournament featuring the greatest BELLATOR athlete and the top undefeated prospect in the history of the promotion is in the books andĀ AJ McKeeĀ emerged victorious, notching an emphatic submission win in the opening round.

With the win, McKee extended his winning streak to 18 fights and took home not one, but two belts in front of a partisan crowd at the world-famous Forum in Los Angeles.

#1-AJ McKeeĀ (18-0) defeated C-Patricio PitbullĀ (32-5) via submission (guillotine) at 1:57 of round one


AJ McKee following his championship win:


ā€œWe are just getting started. This is only the beginning. When it first started and they were selecting the bracket, I wanted the third or fourth pick.Ā  But God told me that I am number one so when I picked that first draw, I knew that I was number one and now I am. The mentality is the key.Ā  You have to put the work in and my dad always says, hard work beats talent.ā€


Additionally, BELLATOR Heavyweight World Champion Ryan Bader joined the commentary team tonight. It was announced earlier this morning that his upcoming bout with Corey Anderson has been scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 16 at the Footprint Center, home of the Phoenix Suns, as part of theĀ BELLATOR MMA Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix Semifinals.Ā Three of the participants spoke tonight atĀ BELLATOR 263.


Rumble Johnson:


This is my home now (BELLATOR) and I am going to make the most of it.Ā Going against Nemkov, I see that it is going to be a big challenge.Ā He doesnā€™t have any weaknesses.Ā Heā€™s a winner.Ā I know he hits very hard.Ā I have to be on my A-game. Ā I canā€™t be lazy and play around.Ā  I am not saying I was lazy against Jose Augusto. But now Iā€™ve got to go against the champ and Iā€™ll be ready.

Corey Anderson:


ā€œIt was super important for me to make a statement in the opening round and I did that. I came in and did what I said I was going to do.Ā  I worked my ground and pound and I showed my power to get the win.Ā I was able to do it against a guy that everyone said is a Russian killer.

Ryan Bader:

ā€œCorey looked good in that fight but, really, who was that guy? You say he was a dark horse but heā€™s a dark horse because no one knows him. And your ground and pound didnā€™t show any power. It was volume, not power.Ā Look, I am a gamer. Iā€˜ve proven that again and again.Ā I came here a two-division champion and I am still rolling.ā€

#8-Mads BurnellĀ (15-3) defeated #2-Emmanuel SanchezĀ (20-5) via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Mads Burnell following his dominant win:

ā€œAbout Emmanuel Sanchez, and this ainā€™t some post-fight bull where I talk up my opponent.Ā Ā He is one tough dude. This guy is straight-up gangster. I am tired of hearing that I am only a submission expert.Ā  I can box, too.Ā  The plan was with Sanchez to walk him down. To go to him and use my shoulder roll and when he changed his angle, take his butt down. Heā€™s a dog.Ā  You think you have him and then he gets energy from someplace, I donā€™t know where.

Usman NurmagomedovĀ (13-0) defeatedĀ Manny MuroĀ (12-7) via TKO (punches) at 3:30 of round one

Usman Nurmagomedov after remaining undefeated:

ā€œI wanted to make a statement in this fightā€¦ I wanted to show that I could wrestle, and I could grapple. I can take the fight anywhere it goes.Ā  That I am not just striking. I showed that tonight.ā€

Islam MamedovĀ (20-1-1) defeatedĀ Brent PrimusĀ (10-2) via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Islam Mamedov after his close decision win:


ā€œHonestly, I thought I won all three rounds without a doubt. I am not sure why any judge gave my opponent the fight. In my mind, I was thinking that if this fight goes to him, it would be crazy, and I wouldnā€™t understand why. Well, now he must be unhappy that he is not on my level. I heard him saying that and I feel like I proved I am better than him.ā€

ā€œHe was very negative about this fight, and I think he needs to do something to deserve this rematch. To me, he did not do a single thing in that fight that showed he won or deserved a rematch. Before this fight, I knew what he was able to do. He was trying to submit me, but he didnā€™t even come close. Even if he did, I have trained with so many good people for years and he wouldā€™ve had to rip my hand off to get this victory.ā€


#5-Goiti YamauchiĀ (26-5) defeatedĀ Chris GonzalezĀ (6-1) via TKO (punches) at 3:53 of round one


Goiti YamauchiĀ following his victory:

ā€œTraining camp was devoted to being ready for his wrestling background. But the more I train for grappling, the fights become more striking. Thatā€™s what happened tonight.ā€

Preliminary Card:

#10-Vanessa PortoĀ (23-9) defeatedĀ Ilara JoanneĀ (9-6) via a split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Gadzhi RabadanovĀ (16-4-2) defeatedĀ Daniel CareyĀ (7-5) via KO (punch) at 3:57 of round one

Khasan MagomedsharipovĀ (6-0 defeatedĀ Jonathan QuirozĀ (4-4) 4:21 of round two TKO (strikes)

Ā Joshua JonesĀ (11-5) defeatedĀ Johnny CisnerosĀ (13-8) via TKO (strikes) at 4:15 of round two

Georgi KarakhanyanĀ (31-11-1) defeatedĀ Kiefer CrosbieĀ (8-3) via submission (arm-triangle choke) at 4:25 of round one

Brian MooreĀ (14-7)Ā defeatedĀ Jordan WinskiĀ (11-3)Ā via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)

Share Article: