03 Aug - 
Bellator 286 in Long Beach set to feature Patricio Freire, A.J. McKee – but not against each other

Patricio Freire and A.J. McKee won’t complete their trilogy just yet.

Instead, featherweight champion Freire will put his title on the line against Adam Borics in the Bellator 286 main event Oct. 1 at Long Beach Arena in Long Beach, Calif. McKee also will compete on the card and make his lightweight debut against Spike Carlyle in front of his home city fans.

A person with knowledge of the matchup confirmed the booking to MMA Junkie on Wednesday but asked to remain anonymous because the promotion has yet to make an official announcement. The Long Beach Press-Telegram was first to report the news.

Freire (33-5 MMA, 21-5 BMMA), who lost his featherweight title to McKee at Bellator 263, reclaimed the belt when the pair rematched at Bellator 277 in April. Freire edged out McKee in a five-round battle and handed him the first loss of his career. He meets Borics (18-1 MMA, 9-1 BMMA), who’s currently riding a four-fight winning streak and coming off a unanimous decision win over Mads Burnell at Bellator 276.

McKee (18-1 MMA, 18-1 BMMA) has been teasing a move to lightweight for a while and now has committed. After he submitted Freire to win the Bellator featherweight grand prix and title, McKee dropped the rematch in a fight he thought he won. Carlyle (14-3 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) has won five straight since parting ways with the UFC in 2020.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Bellator 286.