This Thursday night, Bellator will continue its Featherweight Grand Prix when semifinalists Darrion “The Wolf” Caldwell and A.J. “Mercenary” McKee square off for a chance to fight for the featherweight belt and one million dollars.
Darrion Caldwell is the former bantamweight champion in Bellator. Caldwell beat Eduardo Dantas by unanimous decision to become bantamweight champion. Caldwell would defend his title against Leandro Higo at Bellator 195 and won by submission in the first round. Caldwell moved up to featherweight during his title reign once to take on Noad Lahat and won by knockout in the first round. Caldwell was involved in a huge inter-promotional champion vs. champion fight when he took on Rizin bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi for the Rizin Bantamweight Championship. Horiguchi would win by submission in the third round. The two would rematch at Bellator 222 for the Bellator Bantamweight belt. Horiguchi would make history as he beat Caldwell by unanimous decision to become Bellator Bantamweight champion while also being Rizin Bantamweight champion. Caldwell entered the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix and is 2-0 looking to punch his way to the finals with a win over McKee.
A.J. McKee is the next big thing in Bellator. McKee is 16-0 in his career, holding wins over the likes of Pat Curran and Derek Campos. McKee’s last fight was against Campos, with McKee securing a third round armbar to advance in the Grand Prix. Before the Campos win, McKee took on Georgi Karakhanyan in September 2019. McKee would show why he’s a favorite to win the Grand Prix when he knocked Karakhanyan out in just eight seconds. McKee is one of the most well-rounded fighters Bellator has. Holding the longest win streak in Bellator history at 16, with the second closest coming at 10. McKee’s father, Antonio McKee, is a former fighter who trains his son. The father-son duo has worked so well as McKee is such a bright young star in the sport of MMA. McKee has fast hands with knockout power and a slick submission game. McKee is a future star for Bellator, and if he can get to the finals and win to become champion, he’ll no doubt be one of the greatest featherweights on the planet.
When the 16-man Grand Prix was announced, I immediately picked A.J. McKee to win the whole thing. Now just one fight away to the finals, I’m picking McKee to win by second round knockout. Catch all of the amazing fights this Thursday night on CBS Sports Network!