UNCASVILLE, Connecticut – Like many spectators at home, Scott Cocker was stunned by AJ McKee’s unusual finale at the Bellator 253 main event on Thursday.
Against former Bellator welterweight champion Darion Caldwell, McKee (17-0 MMA, 17-0 BMMA) pulled a rare, modified crank from the guard on the way to a 71-second victory in the semifinals of the Grand Prix in the light heavyweight division.
“I’ve never seen a show like this,” Cocker told MMA Junkie at a post-fight press conference. “The new name is’ McKee-otine? “This is the first time for me. I’ve seen all the different cranks. It took me a second to figure it out.
“I told John McCarthy after that, I said, ̵
With the victory, McKee remains undefeated and advances to the final of the tournament, where he will meet the winner of the champion in the light heavyweight category Bellator Patricio Freire and Emanuel Sanchez in 2021.
Neither the remaining semi-final match nor the subsequent final match still have firm dates, but the president of Bellator proposed a rough schedule for the promotion.
“There’s a lot of riding on the line, and I know everyone will ask me, so I can explain it: the time frame,” Cocker said. “Look, I want to finish this other battle (c) at the end of January. At the end of March we will try to continue this battle. We will try to reach the final. “
Whenever Freire (31-4 MMA, 19-4 BMMA) and Sanchez (20-4 MMA, 12-3 BMMA) fight, this will be the second time they will compete against each other. In November 2018, Freer defeated Sanchez with a unanimous decision in defense of the light heavyweight title.
McKee has completed all three tournament matches so far. After knocking out Georgi Karahanyan for eight seconds in the opening round of the tournament, McKee passed Derek Campos to advance in the match with Caldwell.
Bellator 254 took place on Thursday at the Mohegan Sun Arena. The main card was broadcast on CBS Sports Network after preliminary MMA Junkie matches.