Uncasville, Connecticut – November 19, 2020 – Monster Energy congratulates A. J. McKee on his first-round submission victory over Darrion Caldwell in the main event fight at Bellator 253 inside Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut on Thursday night. In the first semifinal match of the Bellator Featherweight World Grand Prix tournament, the 25-year-old from Long Beach, California, continued his perfect fight record with a dominant win to advance to the tournament finals for a chance to win the Bellator Featherweight World Championship.
Also taking home a victory tonight, newly signed Monster Energy MMA athlete Joey Davis from Compton, California, defeated Bobby Lee via unanimous decision in the welterweight division bout on Bellator 253’s Main Card.
Bellator 253 was contested as a closed-to-the-public event inside the main home of Bellator MMA since the onset of the global coronavirus pandemic: The Mohegan Sun Resort and Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. With the bout between McKee and Caldwell as the headline event, the fight night happened amid extensive COVID-19 safety protocols for staff, officials and fighters. The Main Card was broadcast on DAZN and the CBS Sports Network, the Monster Energy Prelims streamed on YouTube.
The anticipation was off the charts for the main event battle between McKee (17-0) and Darrion Caldwell (15-4). Both fighters had earned their place in tonight’s Bellator Featherweight World Grand Prix semifinal with spectacular performances: McKee barged into the tournament with a stunning knockout victory over Georgi Karakhanyan within 8 seconds of Round 1, followed by an armbar submission of Derek Campos in the quarterfinals.