No. 1 pound-for-pound Patricio "Pitbull" Freire def. No. 2-Adam Borics via unanimous decision (50-45, 48-47, 49-46)
Patricio Freire (34-5 MMA, 22-5 BMMA), following his victory: "That was what I was expecting. He’s very good, very calm. I was just trying to see the right moment to act, and that was what happened during the fight. I always am looking for the right moment, the right timing. He likes to fight when his opponents come forward; he’s very confident on that. I went to the middle of the cage to make some pressure, to make him make a mistake. That’s what I was trying to do the whole time.
"I saw that (Pico-Kennedy) fight. That was an accident. His shoulder was dislocated. Sh-t happens, sometimes. I don’t know what is going to happen with the division. Maybe Kennedy is next. He’s tough, too.
"People sometimes want to see a street fight, like A.J. McKee and that guy, Spike. That’s amazing, but that’s a bar brawl. I’m a fighter. I’m technical. I’m going to take my opponent at the right moment. I am a professional fighter; I don’t care about that. I just told everyone, 'F-ck you.'
"Like I said, people want to see a crazy fight, but I am not that guy. I'm not going to listen to everyone and go forward and make mistakes. I'm going to focus on the fight and keep doing the strategy. I don't care. I want to win.
"The champion (Sergio Pettis) is hurt, so the interim champ is Raufeon Stots now. They have the final for the grand prix, so we have a lot of time. We need to see what will happen with the division, but I am ready. I know if I ask for that fight, Bellator will give it to me. Let’s do it. Let me get that belt.
"I believe it’s very important to promote a big show in Brazil. We deserve that. I’m a champion, my brother’s a champion. If Bellator goes to Brazil, it’s going to be big."
No. 3-pound-for-pound A.J. McKee def. Spike Carlyle via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 29-26)
A.J. McKee (19-1 MMA, 19-1 BMMA), following his victory: "It was kind of crazy, because my gameplan was to get on him like that. It threw me off a bit, but it was just a little adjustment. I hit him a couple of times, and I think he had to respect the power, and he realized it’s a fight. … It's all fun and games. It's entertainment. It's for the fans. Nothing but respect for him. We prayed together. At the end of the day, we're warriors. This is how we put food on the table for our families. It's honor and respect, always."
"It was a fun fight. I enjoyed it. He was a little bit bigger, a little bit stronger. In due time. Let my body adjust to the weight. … He was taking 'em. Bigger boys, though, their chins are just a little bit stronger. I'm always looking for the finish, but I can't over-exert myself to the point where I'm gassed from trying to beat the brakes off somebody.
"Not really (impressed with Pitbull's performance). Great fight, cool. I was more impressed with Borics, I would say. It was his first five fives. You learn a lot about somebody, especially yourself. It's different. That's why I enjoyed fighting five fives with 'Pitbull,' but if we fight again, we're not going five.
"I wouldn't be here without my dad, nor I don't think anybody in our gym. Honestly, some of the legends of the fight game wouldn't be who they are without him. He's just such an inspiration to so many people. For my career? This is the Antonio McKee Show. That’s why I’m 'Jr.' I'm learning from his mistakes, and he's learning from mine. We're here. Our lineage, our legacy, there’s nothing they can do. Generation after generation."
"The biggest thing I would say I learned about myself: I am an asshole at times, especially with my dad. Being able to self-reflect. You have to be able to self-reflect. You have to be able to hold yourself accountable. That's something a lot of people these days don't like to do, but in this game, you have to do it. I have a 16-year-old brother, a 5-year-old brother, they look up to me. It's stepping into that role as a leader and letting them learn from my mistakes so they can be better.
"It was amazing just having all those people come together to support here in the city. Just the energy, … it was like I was fighting again for the title. It felt like everyone was here for me. Sometimes you fall short, but it ain't about how you fall, it's about how you get back up."
No. 7-Jeremy Kennedy def. No. 3-Aaron Pico via TKO (injury) – Round 1, 5:00
Jeremy Kennedy (18-3 MMA, 3-1 BMMA), following his victory: "I was just focused on that first round, getting that finish. I could tell as the round was going on the mat returns were getting easier; he was offering less resistance. I didn't give him much of an option to fight out. In between rounds, I wasn't really focused on him. I looked over and saw them pulling on his arm. I thought, this is maybe something he's had in the past where they'd pop it in and he'd be good to go. When I got up off the stool, I was fully expecting a second round. You can't control anything.
"I felt good in there, though. I wish it went more. I'm typically a slow starter, but when I stood up at the second round, I was just itching. I was like, 'I'm going to go after this guy.' After that first round, I wanted to go. When they waved it off, it's like, it is what it is.
"I want to stay active. That's my biggest thing. I see they have Dublin booked. I've had a lot of history with Pedro, so that's the one I’m going for. Pedro's probably sitting there shuddering, probably thinking 'I shouldn’t have sent those tweets.' Let me fight Pedro in February and let the dust settle.
"I’ve had close fights with the top 5. I don't know why I keep dropping ranks without fighting. I don’t care about the title right now; I know how politics work. I’m wasting my mic time trying to call for that fight. It is what it is, but it's gotta be ASAP. I'm looking for activity while the rest of the division sorts itself out.
"I wouldn’t say this is the biggest moment (of my career) because of how it happened. The first round went exactly as I wanted it to go. I was able to inflect my game. I can't control any of that. I'm enjoying the moment because I got the win. It's a life-altering win for me. I still imposed my will the whole first round.
"December’s good, as well. I want to stay active, but the matchup's got to make sense. Right now, a win over Pico, there's very few names ahead of me. There's Pedro, and the guys fighting tonight. I think Borics is going to win, personally, but especially if 'Pitbull' and McKee win, you know that fight’s going to happen. That December card's probably already full, but I know what I want, and that's February in Ireland."
No. 3-Juan Archuleta def. No. 10-Enrique Barzola via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Juan Archuleta (26-4 MMA, 8-3 BMMA), following his victory: "It's been very unfortunate, my last two fights, because I've been working so damn hard. I'm very fortunate to have that, because to be uncomfortable in practice, not many people can do that. It showed a little bit tonight. Enrique's a tough motherf-cker. He took some bombs. Props to him. … Enrique was a gamer. He kept coming forward, and there was nowhere for me to go and nowhere for him to go.
"That's the only reason why I took this fight. We knew how durable he was, we knew how good he is. I mean, he beat Darrion Caldwell. He's a former champion. I didn't want him to come in here and make his name off me, too.
"The biggest competitions out there are what I want to fight for. They know I’m a Bellator fighter. I've built my career here, and I'm happy to represent Bellator. … I've been going in, day in day out, fighting the cream of the crop of whoever Bellator's given me. I sign the dotted line. It doesn't matter.
"My kids are awesome, my family’s awesome, my fans are awesome. Thank you, guys."
Bellator 286 prelim results include:
- Keoni Diggs def. Ricardo Seixas via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Bobby Seronio III def. Miguel Peimbert via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Islam Mamedov def. Nick Browne via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Jay-Jay Wilson def. Vladimir Tokov via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Khalid Murtazaliev def. Khadzhi Bestaev via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 3:02
- Sumiko Inaba def. Nadine Mandiau via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
- Weber Almeida def. Ryan Lilley via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Lance Gibson Jr. def. Dominic Clark via submission (triangle choke) – Round 1, 1:49
- Cee Jay Hamilton def. Richard Palencia via TKO (leg injury) – Round 2, 0:12