Free Fight: Watch AJ McKee’s 2020 Submission of the Year on Darrion Caldwell

AJ McKee might be the best young talent in all of MMA. When he squared off with former Bellator bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell in the semifinals of the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix, he put that reputation and his perfect 16-0 record on the line. Not only did McKee walk away with the victory, but also the 2020 submission of the year.

Bellator MMA has now released the full McKee vs. Caldwell fight for free on YouTube.

The win was the biggest of McKee’s career, as it secured him a spot in the featherweight grand prix finals where he’ll fight for the title and a million-dollar purse. Moreover, the fight and how it was finished established McKee as one of the smoothest and most creative technicians on the mat.

Whether you call it a neck crank or a “McKee-otine,” the submission was a thing of beauty. After punishing Caldwell with elbows from his back, Caldwell buried his head. In response, McKee reached over Caldwell’s head and under his shoulder, similar to a “100% sweep.” But rather than sweeping, McKee tightened a body triangle and cranked until Caldwell was forced to tap.

McKee will face the winner of April 2’s showdown between current Bellator featherweight champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire and Emmanuel Sanchez.

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

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