Bellator 263: AJ McKee beats Patricio 'Pitbull' Freire to win featherweight title

AJ McKee beat reigning featherweight champion Patricio 'Pitbull' Freire to take the title and land a $1m prize at Bellator 263 in Los Angeles.

The American, 26, stopped his Brazilian rival by submission in the first round.

The fight was under two minutes old when the undefeated McKee landed a solid kick, followed it up with a flurry of punches and got 34-year-old Freire in a guillotine chokehold.

The victory prompted wild celebrations in the cage from the new champion.

It was an 18th straight win for the California native, fighting out of his backyard at The Forum.

"I said I was going to do it in a stylish fashion and it was done in one," McKee said.

"When I rocked him, I thought 'that's it'. After the head kick, I hit him with that uppercut and I saw him quit, he didn't need any more. But like the ref says, 'don't stop punching until I tell you to'."

McKee explained he had prayed before fight and had a vision that he would be victorious, adding: "But maybe it was the 155lb fight that I saw," opening up suggestions that the pair could meet again for Freire's lightweight crown.

That question was put to Bellator president Scott Coker after the fight and he said it was a conversation he had had with McKee and the fighter's father.

"But listen," he added, "we haven't spoken to Pitbull about it. Give the kid a little break, let him see what he wants to do, but we're going to start making some calls maybe in a week or so and see what his feeling on that is."

Elsewhere on the main card, Usman Nurmagomedov - the cousin of former UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov - knocked out Manny Muro in a lightweight contest.

Mads Burnell beat Emmanuel Sanchez with a unanimous decision in the co-main event, Islam Mamedov defeated Brent Primus via split decision and Goiti Yamauchi beat Chris Gonzalez.

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