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AJ McKee Jr. talks about enjoying the "illegal techniques" at Bellator vs. Rizin

A.J. McKee like being able to mix soccer kicks and stomps within his aggressive arsenal, but he's unsure if he can do it consistently.

On December 31, 2022, at Saitama Super Arena in Japan, five fights involving the top fighters in the promotion were showcased in Bellator vs. RIZIN. McKee’s victory over Souza was followed by victories for Patricio Pitbull over Kleber Koike Erbst, Koyiji Horiguchi over Hiromasa Ougikubo, Juan Archuleta over Soo Chul Kim, and Gadzhi Rabadanov over Koji Takeda for Bellator. All five matches ended in decisions.

"Mercenary" had a perfect day. In the headline match of Saturday's Bellator MMA vs. RIZIN event McKee crushed Roberto Souza to make it 5-0 for Bellator. Since the battle was conducted according to RIZIN rules, "Mercenary" was permitted to use stomps and soccer kicks, which he did when the opportunity presented itself.

During the post-fight media interview, the former Bellator champion commented regarding the Rizin ruleset:

“Man, that was so fun,” McKee told reporters following the event. “I don’t know if it’s something I can do every fight, but it’s definitely something I enjoyed a lot. I look forward to doing it again. Hopefully RIZIN enjoyed the show, hope they bring me back, and we can do it again for a title.”

Due to the RIZIN rulebook's resemblance to the PRIDE system, McKee Jr. was thrilled to utilize it. The former Bellator champion used soccer kicks to his benefit and had dominance in the ring. It's obvious that "Mercenary" relished dueling in Japan because he walked in dressed as a samurai and fought with a free mind against Souza.

A.J. McKee praised Robert Souza for his toughness as through out the bout, Souza tried to drag McKee into his trap of ground game, but the American was capable enough defensively to deny the threats.

“Man, he’s a warrior. He’s one tough dude. He kept throwing that triangle, trying to pull me down. I felt like he was trying to drag me into deep waters to drown me. Luckily, I’m a good swimmer.”


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