A.J. McKee Replaces James Gallagher in Bellator 187 Main Event
By Press Release
LOS ANGELES – Bellator MMA is set for its return to Dublin, Ireland, as undefeated sensation A.J. McKee (9-0) will look to play the role of spoiler againstBrian Moore (10-5), a teammate of James Gallagher at Dublin’s SBG, in the featherweight main event of Bellator 187: McKee vs. Moore at 3Arena on Nov. 10.
In addition to the new main event, Ireland’s Sinead Kavanagh (4-2) will battle Maria Casanova (2-4-1) in a women’s featherweight main card bout, whileKevin “Baby Slice” Ferguson Jr. (1-1) will compete against Fred Freeman (1-0) in a 165 pound-catchweight contest.
James Gallagher was initially slated to headline against Jeremiah Labiano, but was forced to withdraw from the card after suffering an injury during training, leaving room for his divisional rival to headline an event in hostile territory. Moore’s previously scheduled opponent, Andre Goncalves (3-1), will now face Northern Ireland’s Decky Dalton (7-3) in a Bellator 187 featherweight matchup.
Bellator 187: McKee vs. Moore will be broadcast free on SPIKE at 9 p.m. ET/ 8 p.m. CT. Tickets for the event are on sale now and currently available at Ticketmaster.ie.
Labiano will now move to Bellator 188: Pitbull vs. Weichel 2 one week later in Tel Aviv, where he is set to take on Israel-born Noad Lahat (11-3) in a main card featherweight bout. Bellator 188 takes place inside Menora Mivtachim Arena and airs on SPIKE at 9 p.m. ET/ 8 p.m. CT on Nov. 17.
The son of respected MMA veteran Antonio McKee, A.J. McKee spent his entire childhood in the gym soaking up every bit of knowledge and experience available to him. The 22-year-old prodigy has applied that knowledge inside the Bellator cage and has made quite a statement in his first nine fights as an MMA professional, racking up seven finishes in nine outings. The Long Beach, Calif.-native now heads to Ireland, a country that is all too familiar with “Mercenary” due to his feud with Gallagher.
Known around “The Emerald Isle” as “Pikeman,” Brian Moore will be making his third appearance in the Bellator cage and his first main event. Having previously competed against top-rated competition the likes of Daniel Weichel and Mike Wilkinson, the 30-year-old SBG Ireland standout most recently stopped Michal Horejsi via punches at Bellator 177 this past April. Moore grew up 90 minutes from 3Arena and will undoubtedly have home field advantage against McKee on Nov. 10.
Fresh off his first-round TKO finish of D.J. Griffin, at Bellator 179 in London, the son of the legendary Kimbo Slice will return to Europe in search of his second victory as professional. Also training under the tutelage of Antonio McKee at Team Bodyshop in Long Beach, Calif., Slice is one of the main sparring partners for A.J. McKee, Aaron Pico and Joey Davis. Fighting out of St. Louis, Fred Freeman made his professional debut in March, finishing his opponent with punches in the second round of their regional matchup. Before turning pro, Freeman laced up the gloves nine times as an amateur.
Set for her fourth Bellator appearance, Sinead Kavanagh returns to the site of her promotional debut, a venue that saw her defeat Elina Kallionidou with a decisive victory at Bellator 169. A three-time veteran of BAMMA, “KO” most recently took on Arlene Blencowe, who now fights Julia Budd for the women’s featherweight title. A native of France, Maria Casanova has competed professionally since 2015. With two submission victories on her resume, the KTP Scola-product will look to hand Kavanagh the first submission loss of her career.
Complete Bellator 187: McKee vs. Moore Fight Card:
Featherweight Main Event: A.J. McKee (9-0) vs. Brian Moore (10-5)
Women’s Featherweight Main Card Bout: Sinead Kavanagh (4-2) vs. Maria Casanova (2-4-1)
165 lb. Catchweight Main Card Bout: Kevin “Baby Slice” Ferguson Jr. (1-1) vs. Fred Freeman (1-0)
Featherweight Main Card Bout: Charlie Ward (3-3) vs. John Redmond (7-12)
Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Decky Dalton (7-3) vs. Andre Goncalves (3-1)