The youngest visitor to the MMA Latest News Pound-4-Pound Podcast (P4P Podcast), episode 76 (link here), AJ “Mercenary” Mckee Jr. (3-0), interestingly enough, owns more experience than his wrinkle-free, unscarred face may show. At twenty years of age, Mckee splashed into the mixed martial arts scene at Bellator 136, and he discussed with the P4P Podcast exactly how he intends to build a legacy on paper that has already been faxed into his veins.
Scheduled to face Danilo Belluardo (5-3) on Bellator’s international card, Bellator 152, Mckee will break a seal surrounding his blossoming career when he ventures outside of the United States for his first time to compete in Pala Alpitour, Torino, Italy. On foreign land against the hometown favorite, he voiced his expectation when traveling overseas: add to his global fanbase as well as an appreciation for other cultures,
“It’ll be my first time out of the country, and I’m really excited to go over there and put on a show. I just want to travel the world. I’ve been talking to my Dad about Dubai, Jamaica, Africa. Honestly, I’m up to go everywhere and anywhere, just to get out of the country and see someone else’s lifestyle.”
Listeners may hear Mckee reference his Dad and, without any research, assume immaturity; in fact, the truth couldn’t be farther from such falsity. A quick Google search leads curiosity to a successful and respected journeyman in MMA with an established record of 29-6, Antonio Mckee Sr. With Mckee Sr. at the helm and other supportive training partners on deck at BodyShop Fitness, the compass guiding Mckee points to him as the brightest star. Drawing the audience back to his youthful glow, Mckee reminisced on what it’s like for him to step on the canvas, hear the steel trap lock, and charge at the sound of the bell,
“When I’m in that cage, I call it my playpen; it’s my little playpen. I trust in everything I’ve done in my camps and my teammates have put me through, and when I’m there, I’m just doing what I want, playing around and having fun.”
Projecting wisdom unmatched by the mirror in his hand, Mckee jumped at the chance to weigh in on the UFC’s cash cow, Conor McGregor, and his appearance as the main event on the most anticipated card in recent history, UFC 200. Mckee’s cognizance to snatch up the microphone and announce where he fits in amongst the best featherweights in the world streamed an innate skillset that many seasoned veterans can’t plug into. He cranked up the volume, and heat, when he said:
“He’s got a bunch of 45ers that’ll take his head off. He needs to work on his wrestling. I’d love to fight that dude. Mckees are known for their wrestling, right? I won’t even use my wrestling. I’ll go out there and strike that dude, anytime! Everyone wants to talk like he’s the great; he’s the notorious.”
Some may hear lofty goals, but Mckee would suggest his ability to strive toward accomplishment has been hardened into his daily grind. During a conversation about making difficult decisions with the P4P Podcast’s panel, a mature Mckee mustered up advice on the topic,
“You’ve just got to follow what your heart wants. At the end of the day, I was in the same situation up at Notre Dame.” Mckee quickly realized wrestling and college life didn’t suit him, so he had to target an alternative track; he sated, “At the end of the day, I knew what I wanted, and I knew where I wanted to be. In that cage fighting is what I wanted, so I dropped out of college, put my all in the gym, and a year later, after about four or five amateur fights, I got signed to Bellator.”
Undefeated and yet to learn what the judges think of his performances, Mckee continues climbing the ladder toward MMA’s elite. In the special guest slot of the P4P Podcast, he rattled the airwaves when evidencing his drive to pursue greatness as a prizefighter, which, in turn, can apply to all avenues of life,
“It’s just all about what you want, and you’ve got to go after it and just make that decision and don’t look back because that’s all you’ve got to stick with.”
Don’t miss out on April 16, 2016, when Mckee marks another milestone at Bellator 152, and, before everyone’s eyes, this hungry cub will entertain for years to come and transform into the champion he envisions. Follow Mckee into Italy and beyond at:
For the latest MMA news, live event coverage, and more follow @mmalatestnws on Twitter.
*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results
Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.
Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.
Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)
Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)
Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)
Bellator 185 Fight to Watch: Heather Hardy vs. Kristina Williams
Heather Hardy will compete in MMA for the second time at Bellator 185 on Friday night, as she faces Kristina Williams in a strawweight contest. The fight takes place on the main card at the Mohican Sun Arena in Connecticut.
Potentially, what Bellator have in Heather ‘The Heat’ Hardy is a major draw that they can build their 125 pound division around. While relatively new to the organisation she is fast becoming one of the more popular names on the roster. Her career is in the early stages, but many have already started to draw comparisons with former boxer turned MMA star, Holly Holm. Holm’s UFC success partly inspired the native New Yorker to make the switch from boxing.
Hardy is already an established world champion in the land of the ‘sweet science’, holding a 21 fight undefeated professional record. She made her MMA debut in June this year with a victory over Alice Yauger, at Bellator 180. At 35, Hardy is a late starter in the sport, but proved at Madison Square Garden against the credible Yauger that she has a bright future.
Hardy’s first outing in the cage was disciplined and composed. Despite a slow start in round one, Hardy grew in confidence as the fight progressed and her cardio never faltered. She mixed in plenty of kicks that complimented her boxing and looked at ease in the clinch, even defending a couple of takedown attempts in the process.
⭐️ F I G H T W E E K ⭐️ . . Tickets/ T-shirt’s / Afterparty info at www.heather-hardy.com 🥂 link is in my bio 🥂 . . @bellatormma @dymatize @lululemon @jlewbags @rgfa @gleasonsgym @shihandevon . . #heatherhardy #heathertheheat #teamheat #boxing #femaleboxing #girlboxer #boxinglife #boxinghype #boxingnight #boxingday #boxinggloves #boxingfanatik #boxer #boxingfitness #womensboxing #boxeo #wmma #mma #teamrenzogracie #bjjgirls #womensmma #renzograciegirls
Despite looking on course for a decision win, Hardy forced the TKO stoppage with just thirteen seconds remaining in round three. Even a large cut that required seven stitches from an accidental head clash could not deny her victory.
Hardy was fighting an experienced professional, competing for the tenth time in MMA, which makes the win over Yauger more impressive. However, her upcoming opponent Kristina Williams will be making her professional debut.
There is little known about Williams except that she is 3-0 at amateur level. One of those wins came by way of submission so there may well be a threat to Hardy if the fight goes to the ground. More importantly for Williams is how she copes on the big stage against a popular opponent, who is more familiar competing in high pressure combat situations. If Williams can produce an upset it will be a huge boost in her young career.
But in all honesty, this fight is about Hardy. It’s about getting the win and gaining valuable experience. The boxing career is on hold while MMA takes centre stage. Beating Williams will mean she likely continues fighting inside a cage rather than a boxing ring.
Bellator 185- How to Watch, Times and Fight Card
Bellator is once again heading to Mohegan Sun in Uncasville Connecticut, and this time they are bringing with them one of the most anticipated former UFC fighter turned Bellator stars’ debut. Gegard Mousasi will be making his first appearance in the Bellator cage against a former Bellator champion in Alexander Shlemenko. Although this event has lost some of its star power over the last several weeks, it is still stacked and you can bet that the main event will bring some fireworks.
Earlier in the month, it was announced that King Mo had suffered an injury that had forced him out of his co-main event fight with former middleweight champion Liam McGeary. Bellator worked quickly to secure a replacement opponent for McGeary in Bubba McDaniels. Unfortunately for McDaniels and the fans alike, McGeary had later suffered an injury of his own and the fight was removed from the card.
This left a spot open in the co-main event slot, which would be filled by a welterweight matchup between Brennan Ward and David Rickels. Just four days out from the fight, Bellator announced that Ward had also become injured and the fight has been removed from the card as well. The main card has been shuffled around and the welterweight bout between Neiman Gracie and Zak Bucia will now serve as the co-main event.
Main Card- Spike TV (US/Canada) Spike UK (UK)- 9 pm EDT, 6 pm PDT, 2 pm UK
- Middleweight Main Event: Gegard Mousasi (42-6-2) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (56-9, 1 NC)
- Welterweight Feature Bout: Neiman Gracie (6-0) vs. Zak Bucia (18-8)
- Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Heather Hardy (1-0) vs. Kristina Williams (Debut)
- Lightweight Feature Bout: Ryan Quinn (13-7) vs. Marcus Surin (4-0)
- Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Ana Julaton (2-2) vs. Lisa Blaine (1-0)
Preliminary Card- Live Stream (MMA Latest New)- 7 pm EDT, 4 pm PDT, 12 pm UK
- 195 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Jordan Young (6-0) vs. Alec Hooben (5-3)
- Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Costello van Steenis (8-1) vs. Steve Skrzat (8-9)
- Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Vinicius de Jesus (5-1) vs. Joaquin Buckley (7-1)
- Lightweight Preliminary Bout: John Beneduce (2-1) vs. Dean Hancock (2-1)
- Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Timothy Wheeler (1-4) vs. Pete Rogers (2-4)
- 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Don Shainis (3-1) vs. Matthew Denning (5-6)
- 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Frank Sforza (6-0) vs. Vovka Clay (3-2)
- Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Kevin Carrier (Pro Debut) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (Pro Debut)
- Flyweight Preliminary Bout: John Lopez (6-4) vs. Billy Giovanella (9-5)
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