03 Aug - 
Patricio Pitbull vs. Adam Borics headlines Bellator 286
Open workout at The Forum for the Bellator 263 $1 million featherweight title fight between AJ McKee and champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire
Bellator featherweight champion Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire. | Photo by Hans Gutknecht/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images

A.J. McKee will return in the co-main event, but as a lightweight.

Reigning Bellator men’s featherweight champion Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire is set for his first title defense since winning the belt back from A.J. McKee.

It was announced on Wednesday that the Brazilian great will face Hungary’s Adam Borics in the main event of Bellator 286 in Long Beach, CA on October 1st. The co-main event features former champion McKee’s lightweight debut against UFC veteran Spike Carlyle. McKee hasn’t fought since losing his title to Freire, and while he recently said he wanted to stay at featherweight to have a trilogy matchup, it looks like his long-awaited move to 155 lbs is coming next.

Freire (33-5) has been Bellator’s 145 lbs king on three separate occasions, as well as the promotion’s lightweight champion when he knocked out Michael Chandler in 2019. Patricio lost his featherweight crown to A.J. McKee by submission in just under two minutes at Bellator 263 in July of last year. An immediate rematch occurred and while action was light, there was a clear decision win in Pitbull’s favor to regain his place atop the division.

Borics (18-1) is a first-time title challenger whose four-fight win streak consists of decisions over Mike Hamel, Erick Sanchez, Jeremy Kennedy, and most recently a very entertaining five-round win over Mads Burnell. His most notable win is a flying knee KO of Aaron Pico back in 2019.

As for the co-main, McKee (18-1) seemingly has his sights set on eventually taking the lightweight title currently held by Patricio’s brother Patricky ‘Pitbull’ Freire. At 145 lbs, McKee dazzled with his tremendous stoppage wins over the likes of Darrion Caldwell, Derek Campos, John Teixeira, Georgi Karakhanyan, and of course Patricio Pitbull to win the championship. Carlyle (14-3) was known for his extraordinarily wild fighting style in his three UFC fights, winning by TKO against Aalon Cruz before losing to Billy Quarantillo and Bill Algeo. He’s since made the rounds from LFA to Bellator to Golden Boy Promotions to Cage Warriors to RIZIN, winning all five of his post-UFC fights.

Bellator 286 airs live on Showtime, with a main card start time of 10 PM ET/7 PM PT. Prelims will stream live on Showtime and Bellator’s respective YouTube channels.