Fight Facts: Bellator 263

By: Jay Pettry
Aug 2, 2021

Fight Facts is a breakdown of all of the interesting information and cage curiosities on every card, with some puns, references and portmanteaus to keep things fun. These deep stat dives delve into the numbers, providing historical context and telling the stories behind those numbers.

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It is the dawn of a new era. The Bellator MMA featherweight empire of “Pitbull” crumbled in just under two minutes, with his statue torn down and replaced by wunderkind A.J. McKee. In one of the best events of the year, top to bottom, Bellator 263 delivered with more relevant and intriguing matchups than its counterprogrammed Ultimate Fighting Championship counterpart. This card featured record books changing in an instant, the rise of a few royal MMA families and a submission magician finally letting his hands go.

Too Much Chalk: For the second event in a row, every betting favorite won their match. The main event came in as a pick ‘em, and up to that fight, those favored ranging from -135 to -1300 all won their bouts.

The Four-Guard Warriors: Four men from Dagestan – three of them teammates of Khabib Nurmagomedov: Usman Nurmagomedov, Islam Mamedov and Gadzhi Rabadanov – competed at this card, and all four had their hands raised at night’s end.

The Mercenary Era: McKee thrashed and throttled Patricio Freire in under two minutes to win the Bellator featherweight grand prix. In victory, he became the sixth man to hold the featherweight crown, while taking home the tourney belt and a $1 million check as well.

Give Me Tong Po: McKee did not only win the tournament, but dominated it. Each of his four wins came by stoppage, with three of those including his finish of Freire taking place within the first two minutes.

Albarracin Did Not Like the Stoppage: At the 1:57 mark of the opening round, McKee forced referee Mike Beltran to intervene and award him the win by technical submission. McKee is now the fifth man to win a Bellator championship bout with a technical submission, and the last man to do so was his opponent, Freire.

Eighteen to Life: The win streak for McKee reached 18 with his victory over “Pitbull,” as he has won all of his bouts, each in the Bellator cage. McKee now holds not only the most consecutive victories in the Bellator featherweight division, or the most in Bellator history, but the most for any fighter to compete for any major organization.

I’m Eighteen and I Don’t Know What I Want: Eighteen up and none down, McKee now sits in second place for the most wins without a loss to start his career among all major promotions. Current Bellator welterweight king Yaroslav Amosov sits above the rest at 26-0.

Bodyshop Guy Dropping Bodies: McKee scored his 13th finish since joining the Bellator roster for his MMA debut in 2015. The Team Bodyshop star is now tied for the most in Bellator history, alongside Michael Chandler and Freire.

Rename It McKeeator: The submission was McKee’s seventh under the Bellator banner, tying him with Neiman Gracie for the second-most all-time. Fellow Bellator 263 victor Goiti Yamauchi holds that top spot with eight.

A Little Sleep, A Little Slumber: “The Mercenary” is the seventh man in company history to land more than one technical submission in his Bellator career. McKee put fellow Bellator 263 competitor Brian Moore to sleep with a rear-naked choke back in 2017.

The Twelve: McKee is now one of 12 men to ever step inside the Bellator cage at least 18 times. His whole career has taken place with the promotion.

Forget That Other Guy: Freire’s technical submission defeat made him the second fighter in organizational history to win and lose bouts by this kind of stoppage. The first was War Machine, who did so in his final two Bellator bouts in 2013.

Will He Reach 30? In defeat, Freire did compete in his 25th Bellator bout, extending his own record. The only active fighter within two is Saad Awad.

Nothing to Get Mads About: Making his third trip to the Bellator cage against former title challenger Emmanuel Sanchez, Mads Burnell won a hard-fought decision. Throughout his Bellator career, the Dane has won by first-round knockout, second-round submission and third-round decision.

Nurmagomadness: Usman Nurmagomedov shredded Luis Muro with a knee to the body to elevate his perfect record to 13-0. The Dagestan native and cousin of ex-UFC king Nurmagomedov celebrates a finish rate of 85 percent, with stoppages in six of his last seven outings.

Winning Through a Whole Generation: By taking a contentious split decision over former champ Brent Primus, Mamedov extended his unbeaten streak to 20. At the time of his last loss in July 2009, 18 of the other 21 fighters on this card had yet to make their professional debuts.

Dude’s Got Hands: Scoring the second knockout of his career, Goiti Yamauchi became the sixth fighter to notch 10 stoppage wins with Bellator. Other than McKee, Chandler and Freire, that list includes Michael Page and Douglas Lima.

Famous Families for $400: Keeping his record perfect with six wins and zero losses, Khasan Magomedsharipov demolished Jonathan Quiroz in Round 2. Five of Magomedsharipov’s career wins have come inside the distance, all within two rounds.

Insane in the Membrane: In the opening rounds, Georgi Karakhanyan tapped Kiefer Crosbie with an arm-triangle choke to go on his first win streak since 2016. “Insane” made his organizational debut at Bellator 13 in 2010, two events before former foe Freire.

Never Say Never Again: Coming into Bellator 263, Gonzalez had never been defeated (six bouts), Freire (32 fights) and Crosbie (10 fights) had never been submitted and Sanchez (25 fights) and Carey (11 fights) had never dropped consecutive bouts.

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