Two of the best featherweights in the world may soon be running things back.
A rematch between Bellator featherweight champion A.J. McKee and former two-division champion Patricio Freire is currently being targeted for April, MMA Fighting confirmed Tuesday following an initial report by Ariel Helwani. A date in May is also a possibility for the bout, sources close to the situation told MMA Fighting’s Guilherme Cruz, but regardless, McKee vs. Freire 2 is a matchup Bellator officials have keyed in on for the spring.
McKee (18-0) choked out “Pitbull” with a guillotine submission in less than two minutes in July 2021 to win the Bellator featherweight grand prix and capture the Bellator title. The 26-year-old is highest-ranked male non-UFC fighter in MMA Fighting’s global pound-for-pound rankings and is the No. 3 ranked fighter in MMA Fighting’s featherweight rankings.
Freire (32-5) saw his seven-fight win streak snapped in his first meeting with McKee. The most decorated fighter in Bellator history, “Pitbull” is MMA Fighting’s No. 6 ranked featherweight and owns victories over the likes of Michael Chandler, Emmanuel Sanchez (x2), Juan Archuleta, and Daniel Straus (x3), among many others.
Freire’s 20 wins inside the Bellator cage is the most in promotional history.
If the rematch is finalized, who wins?
MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin and Guilherme Cruz contributed to this report.