Written by Saba Sozashvili.
On Friday evening (US time), we witnessed a very interesting event, the main battle which was a rematch between Patricio “Pitbull” Freire and Emanuel Sanchez.
Like the first fight, this time the victory went to the Brazilian, but this time he did not leave the decision to the judges score card and in the very first round he was able to earn an early victory with a guillotine choke.
From the first minute, it seemed that Emanuel was trying to use his long limbs to keep his distance from his short stature opponent and score points at the expense of Leg kicks and High kicks, but Pitbull was soon able to read the opponent’s plan.
He started to throw the most relevant counterattack for leg kicks, which are “Hooks”, He knockdown Sanchez and finished already very damaged opponent with a guillotine choke.
There were also a lot of focus on Usman Nurmagomedov’s fight, which lasted 3 rounds and was won quite convincingly by Usman.
This fight was distinguished by the fact that Usman improved his record to 12-0, and Khabib Nurmagomedov improved his record as a coach to 4-0.
EVERYTHING we need to know about A.J McKee.
With this win, Pitbull was able to win a trip to the finals where he will face undefeated fighter A. J. McKee. The 25-year-old American holds the record for 17 wins and 0 losses, of which he has 6-6 wins with submissions and TKO / KOs and 5 with decisions.
An American fighter, has started his fighting amateur career in 2012 and his record includes 7 wins and 1 loss. In 2015 he started a professional career after which he won 17 out of 17 fights.
A.J McKee feels very comfortable at striking, his agility/speed and technique in addition to his abnormally long arms are very dangerous. his reach is 187 centimeters when he is only 178 centimeters in height.
His striking is awesome as he can quickly change levels when hitting opponents, also his arsenal includes high kicks, low kicks, knees etc. He describes his fighting style as “unorthodox and all over the place”.
It is also noteworthy that he uses his long limbs very well on the ground, obviously with the help of long limbs it is much easier to submit someone.
It is also interesting that he managed to win fights with 5 different submissions: Neck Crank, Armbar, Anaconda Choke, Rear-Naked Choke (2 times) and Guillotine Choke, Which means he has a pretty big arsenal of tricks on the ground.
His fights were 3 times the main fight of the event (5 rounds), although he won 2 of them in the first round and 1 in the third round, therefore it is difficult to say anything about how good of a cardio he has for the championship rounds( 4th and 5th rounds).
EVERYTHING we need to know about Pitbull:
The 33-year-old Brazilian is a very experienced fighter with 32 wins and only 4 defeats. He has won fights with knockouts (11 TKO / KO) as well as submissions (12 times).
He started his career back in 2004 and gained a lot of experience during that time.
He managed to beat Michael Chandler, the UFC #4 lightweight contender, in the very first round, who will fight against Charles Oliveira at UFC262 on May 15 for the UFC vacant lightweight title.
It is also noteworthy that Calvin Gastelum, the UFC #8 middleweight contender, predicted a very big future for Pitbull, noting that while wrestling with him, Pitbull showed himself to have high fighting intelligence and skills.
In fact, even in the last fight it turned out well that Pitbull has a really high fighting IQ, it took only 3 minutes to solve the puzzle and gain the victory for the Brazilian.
Pitbull suffered 3 out of 4 defeats by the decision of the judges and 1 TKO, However, all of this should not confuse us.
His last loss came in 2016, against Benson Henderson, where he dominated and had some pretty good shots, but former UFC champion Benson managed to cheque leg kick, resulting in Pitbull injuring his leg. Soon after, Pitbull gave up and stopped the fighting in the middle of the second round.
Since then, Pitbull has fought 7 times and earned 7 victories for his professional resume.
Both fighters have the resources to fight confidently both in the stand and on the ground.
Although Pitbull have victories over taller warriors, such a difference in rich is foreign to him as well.
The height of the Pitbull is 168 cm and the reach is 166 cm and it has 21 cm less rich than the opponent, which is a huge advantage for the striker like A.J.
That’s why A.J. has to try to work from the outside, from a distance, and of course he has to use different shots/kicks and combinations, also he has to be careful because using only leg kicks from the outside didn’t work for Sanchez.
It is because of this reach, that Pitbull’s plan is likely to cause damage to the body with short and quick combinations, and then takedown A.J on the ground, although on the ground he will not be safe, and care must be taken not to be finished by submission.
In a word, the final of the Bellator 66kg weight category is really going to be a super fight where naming a favorite will be very difficult as both fighters can finish the fight anytime and anywhere.