Bellator 187 post-event facts: A.J. McKee sets record with 10th consecutive Bellator win

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_psxO6V2B_FLu19iir_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/feeds/psxO6V2B.json”,”ph”:2}
);

Filed under: Bellator, News

Bellator 187’s main event came down to the wire when unbeaten prospect A.J. McKee was forced to dig deep with a submission victory over Brian Moore at Friday’s event.

McKee (10-0 MMA, 10-0 BMMA) earned a third-round submission win over Moore (10-6 MMA, 1-2 BMMA) in the Spike-televised featherweight headliner at 3Arena in Dublin, giving him the longest winning streak in Bellator history.

McKee’s victory closed out of a five-fight main card that saw four contests end in a stoppage. For more on the numbers behind the show, check out 20 post-event facts about Bellator 187.

* * * *

General

Debuting fighters went 2-4 at the event.

Betting favorites went 5-0 on the main card.

Betting favorites improved to 13-4 (one fight had even odds) in Bellator main events this year.

Total fight time for the five-bout main card was 36:44.

* * * *

Main card

A.J. McKee

McKee’s 10-fight Bellator winning streak is the longest active streak in the company.

McKee’s 10-fight Bellator winning streak is the longest streak in company history.

McKee’s 10-fight Bellator winning streak in featherweight competition is the longest active streak in the division and longest in divisional history.

McKee’s 10 victories in Bellator featherweight competition are tied with Daniel Straus and Pat Curran for second most in divisional history behind Patricio Freire (14).

McKee has earned seven of his 10 career victories by stoppage.

Moore fell to 3-4 in his past seven fights overall dating back to September 2013.

Moore has suffered both of his Bellator losses by submission.

Sinead Kavanagh (5-2 MMA, 2-2 BMMA) improved to 1-1 since she moved up to the Bellator women’s featherweight division.

Kavanagh has earned all of her career stoppage victories by knockout.

Maria Casanova (3-6-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) has just one victory in her past six fights dating back to November 2016.

Kevin Ferguson Jr.

Kevin Ferguson Jr. (2-1 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) earned the first submission victory of his career.

Fred Freeman (1-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) suffered the first loss of his career.

Charlie Ward (4-3 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) snapped his two-fight losing skid for his first victory since June 2016.

Ward has earned both of his career stoppage victories by knockout.

Paul Redmond (14-7 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) improved to 4-1 since he was released from the UFC in July 2015.

For complete coverage of Bellator 187, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/gmqSUsgjXyZs8VRGtteFDm/283816”, customAnalytics: true, title: “McKee def. Tugman”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 187 highlights: Charlie Ward's TKO set off a Conor McGregor fiasco

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_psxO6V2B_FLu19iir_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/feeds/psxO6V2B.json”,”ph”:2}
);

Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, Videos

Conor McGregor provided the most buzz-worthy moment on Friday at Bellator 187, but the actual sanctioned fighting had some highlights, as well.

While McGregor, the UFC lightweight champion set off a melee earlier on the card, the event, which took place at 3Arena in Dublin and aired via same-day delay on Spike, saw some familiar names in the action.

In the headliner, A.J. McKee (10-0 MMA, 10-0 BMMA) continued his undefeated pro run – and moved to 10-0 while fighting exclusively for Bellator – after putting featherweight Brian Moore (10-6 MMA, 1-2 BMMA) to sleep. McKee endured a nasty cut and a rally from his opponent, but he ultimately got the fight-ending rear naked choke in the third round.

Also on the card, Sinead Kavanagh (5-2 MMA, 2-2 BMMA), who missed weight for the 140-pound catchweight affair, nonetheless made quick work of Maria Casanova (3-6-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) en route to a 34-second TKO win.

Additionally, in a 161-pound catchweight fight, “Baby Slice” – Kevin Ferguson Jr. (2-1 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) – submitted Fred Freeman (1-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) in less than two minutes.

And in the main-card opener, middleweight Charlie Ward (4-3 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) scored a first-round TKO win over John Redmond (7-13 MMA, 0-1 BMMA), though his teammate, McGregor, set off this scene (via Twitter):

Check out all of the highlights above.

And for more on Bellator 187, including a full event recap, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Fight Tracks: The walkout songs of Bellator 187

While it takes intense training, world-class skills and maybe even a bit of luck to register a Bellator win, picking the right song to accompany you to the cage is a key talent, as well.

See what the fighters of Friday’s Bellator 187 event in Dublin, went with as their backing tracks.

* * * *

A.J. McKee def. Brian Moore via technical submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 3, 4:14

A.J. McKee: “A.J. McKee” by Lil’ Hef

Brian Moore: “L’Estasi Dell’oro (Bandini Remix)” by Ennio Morricone

Sinead Kavanagh def. Maria Casanova via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 0:34

Sinead Kavanagh: “Feel The Love” by Rudimental feat. John Newman

Maria Casanova: N/A

Kevin Ferguson Jr. def. Fred Freeman via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 1:57

Kevin Ferguson Jr.: “Bareknuckle Hits” by DJ EFN

Fred Freeman: “Dream On” by Aerosmith

Charlie Ward def. John Redmond via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 4:59

Charlie Ward: N/A

John Redmond: “The Last of the Mohicans Theme” by Dougie Maclean & Trevor Jones

Paul Redmond def. Sergio de Jesus Santos via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)

Paul Redmond: “The Harder They Come” by Jimmy Cliff

Sergio de Jesus Santos: “We Will Rock You” by Queen

For complete coverage of Bellator 187, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

Filed under: Bellator, Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News
Source: MMA Junkie

5 reasons to watch Bellator 187, with A.J. McKee, 'Baby Slice,' Sinead Kavanagh and more

Bellator heads to Dublin for Friday’s Bellator 187 event. The card lost its originally scheduled main event when rising Irish featherweight James Gallagher suffered a knee injury in October, but enough local fighters remain on the card to give the Irish crowd something to cheer about, including main event combatant Brian Moore.

Moore landed in the top spot when Gallagher, his teammate at SBG Ireland, was removed from the fight. Moore faces another rising star in the featherweight division in the headlining bout: A.J. McKee.

McKee and Gallagher have been in a war of words for quite a while. Even though Gallagher is no longer on the card, that hasn’t stopped McKee from taking shots at his nemesis in the lead up to the event.

“We should be fighting,” McKee told MMAjunkie. “It just keeps confirming that he’s scared. He’s little princess Gallagher. It’s a shame, but you can’t send a 19-year-old boy to do a man’s job. So that’s why they replaced him with Brian Moore.”

In the co-main event, Kevin Ferguson Jr., the son of the late Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson, faces Fred Freeman.

Bellator 187 takes place at 3Arena and airs via tape delay on Spike.

1. Championship goals

A.J. McKee

A few weeks after he turned 22, McKee laid out the blueprint for his MMA career.

“I plan on being the youngest champ ever,” McKee told MMAjunkie. “Jon Jones was 23 when he did it, so I’ve got a full year to beat that coming from April. (I also want to keep) being undefeated, keep that 0 and be the (Floyd) Mayweather of MMA. Just keep breaking records.”

While McKee has been impressive since turning pro with Bellator in 2015, the promotion has kept him away from the top fighters in the featherweight division. Names such as Daniel Weichel, Georgi Karakhanyan, Emmanuel Sanchez, Pat Curran and Daniel Straus don’t appear anywhere on his record. That makes McKee’s plan to capture gold in the next five months seem a tad too ambitious.

That’s not to say 22-year-old McKee hasn’t had a good run with the promotion; he has. His nine-fight winning streak is tied for longest in Bellator history with former welterweight champion Ben Askren. McKee has six finishes in those nine fights.

McKee (9-0 MMA, 9-0 BMMA) faces Moore (10-5 MMA, 1-1 BMMA), an SBG Ireland teammate of Gallagher’s, in this headlining bout. If the 30-year-old Moore manages to end the winning streak of his teammate’s nemesis, things might get a little crazy inside the arena.

2. Looking for progress

Kevin Ferguson Jr.

At Bellator 187, Ferguson fights in his third pro bout. In his debut he relied mostly on takedowns and striking, but his inexperience showed when he failed to lock in an anaconda choke and was easily reversed and quickly submitted via Aaron Hamilton’s second-round guillotine.

In his second fight with the promotion, Ferguson used power punches to put Darryal Griffin to the mat. Once on the ground, he used elbows and hammerfists to end the fight by TKO at the 3:40 mark of the first round.

Ferguson is still a very raw talent. He eschews jabs in favor of power strikes such as uppercuts and big overhands. He also tends to leave openings for submissions on the ground, but that’s not too much of a surprise considering his lack of experience in the cage.

Ferguson (1-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) has had nearly six months of gym work to ready himself for this 165-pound catchweight fight against Fred Freeman (1-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA). With that prep time, there’s the expectation that we’ll see a more polished fighter when he steps into the cage in Dublin.

Freeman is 1-0 as a pro, but he has an extensive amateur background.

3. Getting back in the win column

Sinead Kavanagh

Sinead Kavanagh has hit a rough patch. After opening her career with a four-fight winning streak, the SBG Ireland fighter has lost her two most recent bouts.

Kavanagh got her start as a boxer before transitioning to MMA. That’s very evident from her “KO” nickname, as well as her striking heavy style.

In the first loss of her career, a decision defeat to Iony Razafiarison, Kavanagh’s lack of takedown defense was evident. The Irish fighter also showed a subpar game off of her back in that loss. She’s much more comfortable and confident in a fight if her opponent will stand and trade bungalows in the center of the cage.

Kavanagh’s (4-2 MMA, 1-2 BMMA) strengths and weaknesses are something her opponent, Maria Casanova (2-5-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), is undoubtedly aware of. If Casanova, who has two submission wins on her record, can get the fight to the ground, she has a much better chance of walking away from her Bellator featherweight debut with a victory.

Like Kavanagh, Casanova has losses in her two most recent bouts.

4. A big opportunity at home

Paul Redmond

Well-traveled veteran Paul Redmond makes his Bellator debut in his hometown of Dublin. The 31-year old has fought for 10 different promotions, including the UFC, Cage Warriors and BAMMA since he made his pro debut in April 2010.

This lightweight bout marks Redmond’s fifth consecutive fight in Ireland. He is 3-1 in his four most recent contests. His only loss during that run was a February split-decision defeat to Norman Parke. Had Redmond won that bout, he would have captured the BAMMA lightweight champion. Parke came in heavy for the fight, making him ineligible for the title.

Once primarily known for his ground game, Redmond has made a concerted effort to shore up his striking.

Redmond was originally booked to fight at Bellator 169 against former featherweight title contender Weichel. An injury knocked him from that card.

Redmond’s (13-7 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) opponent at Bellator 187, Sergio de Jesus Santos (4-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) doesn’t have the name recognition of Weichel, but this could be a good showcase fight for Redmond. For Santos, who has lost his two most recent bouts, this fight is an opportunity to get a win over a recognizable name.

5. A fresh start

Charlie Ward

Charlie Ward’s two-run stint in the UFC was brief. In those fights, he spent a little more than three minutes inside the octagon. Abdul Razak Alhassan knocked him out in 53 seconds in his first bout with the promotion. Ward’s second fight, a highlight-reel slam knockout loss to Galore Bofando, lasted a little more than two minutes. The SBG Ireland fighter, who was on a three-fight winning streak before his two recent losses, makes his Bellator debut in Dublin, and you can bet he hopes he has more success than he did with the UFC.

Ward (3-3 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) is a brawler. He loves nothing more than getting into a firefight and slinging wild bombs. If he can implement his style against John Redmond (7-12 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), he should have a crowd-pleasing bout.

Redmond also makes his Bellator debut at Bellator 187. As his 7-12 record indicates, he’s had a rough go as a professional fighter. He has a 2-5 record since 2014. His two victories have come by way of knockout.

This middleweight matchup might not be pretty, but it could be entertaining, and sometimes that’s enough.

For more on Bellator 187, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 187's Kevin 'Baby Slice' Ferguson Jr. no longer feeling pressure of Kimbo's legacy

Whether he liked to recognize it or not, Kevin Ferguson Jr. has been under the microscope since his first time stepping into the cage for an MMA fight. That hans’t changed much going into his third professional bout at Bellator 187, but Ferguson Jr. has learned the let go of the pressure.

Ferguson Jr. (1-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA), or “Baby Slice,” is the son of the late Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson, a famous street-brawler turned MMA fighter who competed for the likes of Bellator, UFC and EliteXC. Many second-generation fighters come into the sport with preconceived expectations, and Ferguson Jr. is no different.

Following his first pro win earlier this year and coming into a 165-pound catchweight fight with Fred Freeman (1-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) at Friday’s Bellator 187 event, which takes place at 3Arena in Dublin and airs via tape-delay on Spike, Ferguson Jr. said he’s finally settling into a comfort zone.

“Definitely (the pressure is gone),” Ferguson Jr. told MMAjunkie. “You’ve got to work hard. You’ve got to push yourself if you want to be in this sport, and that’s what I’ve learned. Hard work, it pays off. I’ve just got to maintain it and not lose focus.”

Prior to his pro debut, Ferguson Jr. said it was important to him to follow in the footsteps of his late father and carry on his legacy. He still wants to do that but is aware it’s not a goal that’s quickly accomplished. There are many hurdles to a typical MMA career, and Ferguson Jr. experienced one already by losing his first pro fight.

Ferguson Jr., 25, bounced back in his sophomore outing at Bellator 179 in May, though. He earned a first-round TKO of Darryal Griffin, and getting that victory made him realize that climbing the top of the sport is going to be a long and difficult journey.

It also motivated him, though. Ferguson Jr. admitted his work ethic was not where it should have been off the bat. He’s had many takeaways from his early ups and downs, though, and said at this point he’s 100 percent committed to becoming elite.

“My first fight, I was just learning,” Ferguson Jr. said. “I didn’t really know everything. I was just in the sport and having fun with it. Now I’m taking it serious. I’m putting my all into it. I understand when you work hard, it pays off. It’s more the gym part: going to the gym more, pushing myself more and training. Mentally, I’m ready. But now I’m ready mentally and physically.”

At this point in his career, Ferguson Jr. said it’s all about growing and getting better as a fighter. He trains with a solid crew at Team Bodyshop in California, but with less than 10 minutes of overall cage time to his credit, there’s still a lot he hasn’t yet experienced.

Ferguson Jr. said he will take as quick a victory as Freeman gives him at Bellator 187, but he wouldn’t mind a longer fight to display his improvements since his previous bout six months ago.

“The main goal is to go in there and get that ‘W,’” Ferguson Jr. said. “But I also want to do things. I want to show off what I’ve been working on. I want to beat this guy up, cut him up. I want to work on the things we’ve worked on. It’s fun to have a knockout, but it’s always good to showcase your skills.”

After dropping his debut then rallying in his second fight, Ferguson Jr. said he hopes Bellator 187 marks the beginning of a long run of success in the sport. He said he’s doing all the right things in and out of the gym to thrive, and with less pressure on his shoulders than he had from the outset. The plan now is to go on a long winning streak, and “Baby Slice” doesn’t view Freeman as the man to stop him.

“I’m 1-1 and on a one-fight winning streak,” Ferguson Jr. said. “I want at least to get to 10 or eight. That’s the goal, for sure.”

For more on Bellator 187, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 187 additions include 'Baby Slice' and Sinead Kavanagh

Bellator’s Dublin return already had a reshuffled main event, and now it has two more contests scheduled, as well.

Bellator officials today announced that both a women’s featherweight matchup of Maria Casanova (2-5-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) vs. Sinead Kavanagh (4-2 MMA, 1-2 BMMA) and a 165-pound catchweight contest of Kevin Ferguson Jr. (1-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) vs. Fred Freeman (2-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) have been added to Bellator 187, which takes place Nov. 10 at 3Arena in Ireland.

The night’s main card airs via tape delay on Spike.

Casanova, a French fighter, makes her Bellator debut. While her career record fails to impress, her two career victories each came by way of first-round victory. Kavanagh, an SBG Ireland fighter, opened her professional career at 4-0 but has since dropped back-to-back decisions to Arlene Blencowe and Iony Razafiarison while competing under the Bellator banner.

“Baby Slice” is the 25-year-old son of famed streetfighter turned MMA superstar Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson. “Baby Slice” has split two fights thus far in his pro career, both of which came in the Bellator cage. Freeman now makes his Bellator debut after earning submission victories in his first two pro fights – both against Brandon Buchholz in bouts contested on the U.S. regional stage.

With the additions to the card, Bellator 187 now includes:

MAIN CARD (Spike, 9 p.m. ET via tape delay)

  • A.J. McKee vs. Brian Moore
  • Maria Casanova vs. Sinead Kavanagh
  • Kevin Ferguson Jr. vs. Fred Freeman
  • John Redmond vs. Charlie Ward

PRELIMINARY CARD (MMAjunkie)

  • Declan Dalton vs. Andre Goncalves

For more on Bellator 187, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie