PHOTO CREDIT: BELLATOR MMA – Thank you guys!
Ahead of a savory fight night this Friday, the talented combatants from BELLATOR 277: McKee vs. Pitbull 2 spoke to the media today before they step into the cage on Friday, April 15 at the SAP Center in San Jose, CA and live at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on SHOWTIME.
Anchoring the card will be a heated rematch between unbeaten BELLATOR Featherweight World Champion AJ McKee (18-0) against former top pound-for-pound and two-division champion Patricio Pitbull (32-5). Pitbull will be looking for vengeance against McKee to win back his title and the distinction of handing one of the top pound-for-pounders in all of mixed martial arts his first-ever defeat.
In an equally action-packed co-feature event, current 205-pound BELLATOR MMA World Champion Vadim Nemkov (15-2) will look to defend his title for the third time and take home the $1 million prize against No. 1-ranked 205-pound contender Corey Anderson (16-5) in the BELLATOR MMA Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix Final.
No.4-ranked featherweight Aaron Pico (9-3) will now face Adli Edwards (9-1) in a 150-pound contract weight contest. Edwards replaced Jeremy Kennedy late last week, after he sustained an undisclosed injury. Opening the Bellator 277 televised card, No.4-ranked heavyweight Linton Vassell (22-8, 1 NC) will clash against No.5-ranked Tim Johnson (15-8), setting the baseline-adrenaline on high for the night.
Additionally, ten preliminary bouts have been announced, which will stream live three hours earlier at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on the BELLATOR MMA YouTube channel, SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel and Pluto TV. Fans will enjoy mouthwatering matchups, including a tilt between two highly ranked heavyweights as No. 6-ranked Tyrell Fortune (11-2, 1 NC) and Rakim Cleveland (21-14-1), a light heavyweight bout between Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov (18-7-1) and former middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho (16-6), and a welterweight clash between No.9-ranked Kyle Crutchmer (8-1) and Michael Lombardo (12-2, 1 NC).
Tickets for BELLATOR MMA 277: McKee vs. Pitbull 2 are on sale at both Ticketmaster.com and Bellator.com.
Here is what the fighters had to say today during their media day:
AJ McKEE: BELLATOR FEATHERWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPION
“I’d say there’s a bit more pressure because obviously in the first fight, that was our first exchange, we didn’t get to see much in that fight. Everybody is like ‘well maybe he just got caught.’ No – it went just the way it was supposed to go. So, this second one, it’s going to be hard to triumph that, but yeah, man I’m just going to go in there and do what I do best. That’s the key.”
“Solidifying myself as the best 145 pounder in the world. To do it in such a fashion two times in a row, back-to-back. Even if he has eight months to train for it, it’s not going to make a difference. I got a job to do, man. I’m hungry. I got goals, ambitions, life goals that I’ve set for myself.”
“I’m looking forward to this fight. He’s been the man since I first stepped in this cage so hats off to him, but as I’ve constantly said, it’s a new era- a new wave. And waves… they come with some power.”
PATRICIO PITBULL: NO. 1-RANKED BELLATOR FEATHERWEIGHT
“I feel great, just cutting weight and ready to go. That’s it.”
“My rivalry is against anyone that wants to put their hands on me. He has my belt, and I want to take it back.”
“I don’t care about (being an underdog). The last fight I was the favorite, and I lost the fight.”
“Yes (I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished). But I want more!”
“I’ve been in this game since 2004. When I lost the belt (to AJ) the first day I got to Brazil I started training again. Off course I wasn’t training like a madman. I’m 34 years old. That last strategy was thrown out the window and I’m training for a new strategy. I’ve trained to be a lot smarter in this fight.”
VADIM NEMKOV: BELLATOR LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION
“I’m very happy to be here and I am very thankful to Bellator for making this fight happen. When this Grand Prix started, I knew it would be against either Corey Anderson or Ryan Bader, so here we are and I’m ready to rise to the challenge on Friday night.”
“I have studied Corey Anderson, when the fight ends, we will truly see if this was the hardest fight of my career or not.”
“I think I am one of the best light heavyweights on the planet, but I don’t like to predict things, I like to prove them in the cage, and I will do that on Friday night.”
“Looking ahead, if Gegard Mousasi wanted to fight against me and Bellator was okay with it, I would welcome the challenge and opportunity, I’ve always made it clear that I want to fight the best and he would be in that category.”
COREY ANDERSON: NO. 1-RANKED BELLATOR LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
“I’m really excited for this opportunity, I’ve been grinding. The opening round was April 14 of last year, I have been training non-stop for a year. I can’t wait to get it over with and win this belt.”
“I want that confetti and everything, and want to pop champagne like A.J. did and spray it in the cage when I win my million dollars.”
“I just need to be me on Friday night, I just need to do the same thing I’ve been doing and be dominant. When I win, I win. When I do what Corey Anderson does, I win the emphatically.”
“There is not a doubt in my mind that I am the best light heavyweight on the planet, there hasn’t been a doubt and I’ll show that on Friday night.”
BELLATOR 277: McKEE VS. PITBULL 2 MAIN CARD:
Friday, April 15 – live on SHOWTIME
10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT
Featherweight World Championship: C–A.J. McKee (18-0) vs. #1-Patricio Pitbull (15-5)
Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix Final: C-Vadim Nemkov (15-2) vs. #1-Corey Anderson (16-5)
150-Pound Contract Weight Bout: #4-Aaron Pico (9-3) vs. Adli Edwards (9-1)
Heavyweight Bout: #5-Tim Johnson (15-8) vs. #4-Linton Vassell (22-8, 1 NC)
BELLATOR 277: McKEE VS. PITBULL 2 PRELIMINARY CARD:
BELLATOR MMA YouTube channel | SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel | Pluto TV
7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT
Heavyweight Bout: #7-Tyrell Fortune (11-2, 1 NC) vs. Rakim Cleveland (21-14-1)
Light Heavyweight Bout: Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov (18-7-1) vs. Rafael Carvalho (16-6)
140-Pound Contract Weight Bout: Gaston Bolanos (5-3) vs. Daniel Carey (7-5)
Welterweight Bout: #9-Kyle Crutchmer (8-1) vs. Michael Lombardo (12-2, 1 NC)
Bantamweight Bout: Bobby Seronio III (1-0) vs. Calob Ramirez (1-1)
Welterweight Bout: Tyson Miller (2-0) vs. Rhalan Gracie (0-3)
Flyweight Bout: Edwin De Los Santos (1-0) vs. Alberto Mendez (0-0, 1 NC)
Featherweight Bout: Socrates Hernandez (0-1) vs. Rogelio Luna (Pro Debut)
Featherweight Bout: Laird Anderson (1-0) vs. JT Donaldson (4-5)
Light Heavyweight Bout: Theo Haig (Pro Debut) vs. Alan Benson (1-2)
Please visit Bellator.com for additional information.