Bellator 197: AJ McKee Looking to Make an Example of Justin Lawrence for “Princess Gallagher”
AJ McKee has long been considered one of the best prospects Bellator has on their roster. At 10-0 and all of his professional fights being with the promotion, he’s looked nearly unbeatable and added some highlight reel finishes along the way. He and his training partners at Team Bodyshop based out of Los Angeles and underneath the tutelage of AJ’s father and MMA veteran Antonio McKee have been taking Bellator by storm. His teammates like big-name prospects Aaron Pico and wrestling stud Joey Davis as well as “Baby Slice” who is fighting right before AJ have been putting on phenomenal performances inside the Bellator cage.
“We got a gym full of studs. We call it the Bellator takeover team and that’s definitely what we’re doing taking Bellator over.”
McKee was at his Bellator 197 opponent’s most recent fight in Temecula, Ca and got an up-close look at his newest challenger Justin Lawrence.
“He’s a grinder he’s gonna push the pace and keep coming forward but by the second round he gets a little tired and he gets in his habits just like any other fighter. So for me, first round I’m looking to go out there and push his pace which is just me at my normal pace being in shape and then the second round really pushing and breaking him. He’s gonna be tired and I don’t feel he’s going to be able to deal with that same consistent pressure.”
While he believes Lawrence is of the same caliber as him he doesn’t believe he’s quite at the same level and McKee is looking for an opponent that will really test him while also putting on an entertaining fight for the fans as that is what is most important to him besides getting the W. A change of weight class might be necessary to facilitate that he believes but in the meantime…
“I’m looking forward to going out there and making an example of Justin Lawrence who is a contender in this weight class. I’m literally going to put him out his misery”
After his viral head kick KO of Dominick Mazotta the young prospect says h went back to taking shortcuts and not training just playing around. But now he’s had a full eight-week fight camp behind him coming into his fight with Lawrence.
“He’s a great phenomenal young fighter but I’m going to show him I’m the GOAT man, I’m the young GOAT”
We all saw the now infamous bedlam at the Barclay’s as Conor McGregor threw a metal dolly into a bus window injuring several UFC fighters but before that his biggest controversy to date was when he hopped over the cage in Dublin and pushed referee Marc Goddard as well as slapping an official following his teammate Charlie Ward’s win. AJ McKee just happened to headline that card facing off vs another SBG fighter and the result was not as good as before. McKee choked out Brian Moore in the 3rd round and proceeded to call out their teammate James Gallagher who’s had a long-running feud with the California native. He’s not even mad McGregor “upstaged” him at his own event. Quite the opposite actually.
“I thank him for doing what he did at my fight as it boosted the ratings for my fight up. It also benefited me because I beat his teammate up and then it also shows little princess Gallagher that he doesn’t want to fight me because I beat his friend up who’s better than him so that kind of put that in the woodwork.”
The fight with Gallagher seems inevitable but it’s been taking forever to put together. Just a few weeks ago Gallagher had to pull out of his headlining fight vs Adam Borics at the Budapest event forcing Bellator to put together a quick replacement in Benson Henderson vs Roger Huerta. McKee says he’s been getting mixed messages about “The Strabanimal’s” health and thinks he’s ducking him but “if he wants to fight we’ll fight”
Team Bodyshop vs Straight Blast Gym looks to be an exciting gym rivalry in the coming years.