The tournament was beginning with 16 competitors has been whittled down to two. Having dominated their respective sides of the bracket, featherweight champion Patricio Freire (32-4 MMA, 20-4 BMMA) and undefeated rising star A.J. McKee (17-0 MMA, 17-0 BMMA) will square off in the Bellator 263 main event.
The event takes place July 31 at The Forum in Los AngelesThe promotion officially announced the matchup and event details at a pre-fight news conference Wednesday, which featured both main event participants and their coaches. MMA Fighting was the first to report the date of the matchup.
Bellator also confirmed Magomed Magomedov (18-1 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) vs. Raufeon Stots (16-1 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) and Mads Burnell (15-3 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) vs. Emmanuel Sanchez (20-5 MMA, 12-4 BMMA), which were previously reported by MMA Junkie.
Additionally, the promotion announced a lightweight matchup between Khabib Nurmagomedov cousin Usman Nurmagomedov (12-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) and Manny Muro (12-6 MMA, 2-0 BMMA).
The tournament began in September 2019 with 16 fighters. Freire defeated Juan Archuleta by decision, Pedro Carvalho by knockout, and Emmanuel Sanchez by submission to advance. McKee, meanwhile, finished Georgi Karakhanyan by knockout, Derek Campos by submission, and Darrion Caldwell by submission.
Now the two powerhouses will collide, with the 145-pound belt, a tournament title, and a $1 million prize on the line in what some are viewing as the biggest fight in promotion history.
The Bellator 263 lineup includes:
Champion Patricio Freire vs. A.J. McKee – grand prix final for the featherweight title
Magomed Magomedov vs. Raufeon Stots
Mads Burnell vs. Emmanuel Sanchez
Usman Nurmagomedov vs. Manny Muro
Kiefer Crosbie vs. Georgi Karakhanyan