Ahead of this weekend’s mouth-watering Bellator 263 headliner between two-weight champion, Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire and the undefeated A.J. McKee, Brazilian titleholder, Freire has vowed that both challenger, McKee and his father, Antonio McKee will be may to pay for the “sh*t” they’ve spoken in the past regarding his evolution, or apparent lack thereof.
Freire, undefeated in his last seven walks under the Scott Coker-led banner, headlines the promotion’s Forum event in Inglewood, California this weekend against the unbeaten, McKee — with the organization’s featherweight gold Grand Prix culminating.
Billed as arguably the most high-profile and anticipated fight in the history of the promotion, Brazilian finisher, Freire enters the bout of the back of a second career victory over Emannuell Sanchez, whom he submitted at Bellator 255 in April to successfully defend his title and progress to the final bracket.
Freire, the promotion’s undisputed lightweight champion to boot, has held the promotion’s featherweight title since April of 2017 when he defeated Daniel Strauss with a second round guillotine, before defending opposite Daniel Weichel, Sanchez again, former bantamweight champion, Juan Archuleta, as well as Pedro Carvalho.
For promotional mainstay, McKee — he’s notched each of his 17 professional victories under the scrutiny of Bellator MMA, the most recent of which in the featherweight Grand Prix semi final where he lodged a hugely innovative opening round neck crank stoppage over former bantamweight gold holder, Darrion Caldwell.
Speaking with MMA Junkie ahead of his anticipated matchup with McKee, Natal native, Freire referred to prior comments from both A.J. and Antonio McKee regarding his evolution as a fighter in year’s gone by, claiming that the pair will pay for what they have said in the past once the cage door locks on Saturday in California.
“Pay close attention on July 31st.,” Freire said. “A.J. McKee will pay for all the sh*t he and his father (Antonio McKee) have been saying for years.“
With a $1 million check awaiting the victor as well as undisputed featherweight title spoils, Freire questioned the level of opponent McKee has faced in his so-far untested professional career, claiming that the hometown challenger may have already bested the majority of his opponents prior to fight night.
“Most of his (A.J. McKee’s) opponents stepped into the cage with him already expecting to lose,” Freire explained. “And the biggest names he beat were already in decline, some quite different than from their career apex. I am at the apex, and there are many more things I plan to conquer in this sport. I’m walking into this fight with the intention of beating him up and walking away with a victory.“