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Bellator star AJ McKee takes on Patricky Pitbull on July 30 in Tokyo – Orange County Register

Bellator MMA returns to the land of the rising sun and brings back one of its brightest stars.

Long Beach’s AJ McKee will return to Tokyo to take on former lightweight champion Patricky Pitbull in a Bellator Lightweight World Grand Prix quarterfinal on July 30 at Saitama Super Arena.

The cross-promoted Bellator MMA X Rizin 2 card will feature multiple fights in the Bellator cage, followed by Rizin fights in the ring.

McKee, 28, is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Rizin champ Roberto Satoshi de Souza on New Years Eve in his Tokyo debut. Prior to that, it was the former 155-pound featherweight champion’s debut in a dominating, unanimous beating of Spike Carlyle at Bellator 286 on Oct. 1 at Long Beach Arena.

The fight with Pitbull (24-11) has been a long time coming since McKee (20-1) moved up to lightweight after sharing a pair of contests with younger brother Patricio Pitbull.

The Long Beach Poly High graduate won the $1 million World Featherweight Grand Prix with a first-round technical submission dethroning 145-pound champion Patricio Pitbull at Bellator 263 on July 31, 2021, at The Forum in Inglewood. Less than 10 months later, Patricio Pitbull reclaimed the belt with a unanimous decision victory over McKee, who lost for the first time at Bellator 277 on April 15, 2022 in San Jose.

Patricky Pitbull, 37, has lost three of his last four fights, the last when he lost his title by unanimous decision to Usman Nurmagomedov at Bellator 288 in November in Chicago.

The winner of July’s quarter-final will face Alexander Shabliy (23-3) – who beat Tofiq Musayev via TKO due to a third-round kick at Bellator 292 in March in San Jose – in the semi-finals of the tournament. of $1 million.

Bellator MMA X Rizin 2 will also feature the inaugural Bellator Flyweight Championship bout between former Bellator and Rizin champion Kyoji Horiguchi (31-5) and Makoto “Shinryu” Takahashi (16-1-1).

Another scheduled Bellator bout will pit flyweight Kana Watanabe (11-2-1) against Veta Arteaga (7-5).

Former Bellator bantamweight champion Juan Archuleta (28-4) and Musayev (20-5) will also be on the Rizin ring card.

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