DUBLIN, Ireland — A.J. McKee had to overcome a hellish second round against Brian Moore before he eventually claimed a third-round submission victory in the main event of Bellator 187 at Dublin’s 3 Arena on Friday night.
The unbeaten featherweight ate punishing shots from the SBG Ireland man in round two after failing to secure a takedown at the start of the round. Moore landed a big right cross immediately after the attempt, and with McKee already cut over his right eye, he visibly tired as the Wexford fighter continued to push forward.
Wasting no time in the final round, McKee dropped Moore in the opening exchanges and quickly looked to secure the Irishman’s back. “The Pikeman” did his best to evade McKee’s rear-naked choke, but in the end he was forced to succumb to the submission.
In the co-main event, former national amateur boxing champion Sinead Kavanagh returned to the win column in devastating fashion after suffering two consecutive losses under the Bellator banner.
“KO” Kavanagh dropped Maria Casanova in the first exchange with a solid right hand. Following her opponent to the canvas and establishing mount, Kavanagh landed heavy shots from top position before the referee stopped the action.
Kevin “Baby Slice” Ferguson recorded the first submission win of his career when he faced off against Fred Freeman. Usually known for his brawling style, Ferguson Jr. will be happy with the result having mentioned that he wanted to showcase a more technical side to his game in the lead up to the event.
Conor McGregor scaled the cage fence to celebrate with Charlie Ward after his first-round knockout of John Redmond.
Ward took the Team Ryano man down early and controlled him with his head position. When Redmond returned to his feet, he delivered some sharp knees to the stomach of Ward. In the dying embers of the round, the two fighters unloaded on each other with Ward landing the finishing blow.
After the win, McGregor immediately joined Ward in celebration. McGregor appeared to have heated words with Marc Goddard and shoved the referee before quickly being ejected from the cage. Returning to the cage a second time, McGregor received a standing ovation from the fans in attendance before he finally left the venue.
Former UFC fighter Paul Redmond enjoyed a successful outing in his Bellator debut. After scoring a takedown in the first round, the Irishman saw out the majority of the round in de Jesus Santos’ guillotine.
In the second round, the Dublin foot lock specialist attacked the Brazilian’s legs on two occasions and failed on a guillotine attempt of his own. In the final round, de Jesus Santos did well to stay in the fight, but Redmond was very dominant in the striking and grappling exchanges.