A.J. McKee Subs Darrion Caldwell at Bellator 253, Advances to Featherweight Grand Prix Finals

By: Tyler Treese
Nov 19, 2020

Thanks to Bellator 253's main event, we now know one finalist for Bellator MMA's featherweight grand prix.

Darrion Caldwell was thought to be a major challenge for A.J. McKee, but the former Bellator bantamweight champion was unable to mount much offense. McKee (17-0) was able to latch in a neck crank after a successful takedown by Caldwell (15-4) that forced the former champ to submit at 1:11 of Round 1. McKee will now face the winner of Patricio Freire and Emmanuel Sanchez for the featherweight championship.

The welterweight co-main event saw former Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight champion Benson Henderson face off against former Legacy Fighting Alliance welterweight king Jason Jackson. "The Ass-Kicking Machine" was the larger fighter inside the cage and that size nullfied a lot of the wrestling of Henderson (28-10). With sharper striking, Jackson (13-4) was able to take a clear decision winning 30-27 on all three scorecards.

Welterweight prospect Joey Davis looked great against Bobby Lee. Davis (8-0) was able to control Lee (12-5) on the ground over 15 minutes of action. This led to the undefeated fighter earning a clear-cut unanimous decision win with scores of 30-26, 30-27 and 30-27.

The main card opened up with a bantamweight bout between Keith Lee and Raufeon Stots. Both men had their moments over 15 minutes but it was Stots (15-1) who did enough in the eyes of the judges. Three 30-27 scorecards awarded "Killa" a unanimous decision win over Lee (7-4).

In preliminary action, Jeremy Kennedy (16-2, 1 NC) dominated Matt Bessette (24-10, 1 NC) and picked up scores of 30-27, 30-26 and 30-26 in his favor; Jaleel Willis outstruck Mark Lemminger over 15 minutes to earn three 29-28 scorecards; Jay-Jay Wilson needed just 20 seconds to notch an impressive knockout of Sergio de Bari; Kaheem Murray (4-3) easily won a decision over Kevin Ferguson Jr. (3-3) picking up three 30-27 scorecards in the process; and Sullivan Cauley (1-0) needed just 28 seconds to finish Jason Markland (0-2) with punches and win his pro debut.
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