Not a nasty solution to finish 2022.
AJ McKee clearly relished his New Yr’s Eve unanimous choice victory over Rizin Light-weight Champion Roberto de Souza of their non-title foremost occasion bout in entrance of 23,361 followers in Saitama, Japan.
McKee was additionally immensely happy with the Bellator fighters going 5-0 towards their rivals towards Rizin in a cross-promotional card that befell early Saturday morning for viewers right here on the West Coast.
However the spotlight of the night time, the Lengthy Seaside star stated in an unique interview Saturday morning, was his stroll to the ring on the Saitama Tremendous Area, full with black samurai outfit and sword, as McKee showered 100 million yen payments on followers.
“It was nice popping out, man. I really feel like that was the most effective half for me. Simply with the ability to relate to their tradition, my tradition and going again many, many, many, a few years,” stated the previous Bellator featherweight champion, who’s now 2-0 within the light-weight division.
“You realize, there have been black samurai. Individuals do not know that. So simply with the ability to join their tradition, my tradition, you already know?”
𝑴𝒂𝒊𝒏𝒈𝒊𝒕 𝒓𝒂𝒊𝒏 💵
AJ McKee enters the legendary Saitama Tremendous Area in Samurai Armor ⚔️
🇺🇸 Full replay at 8pm ET/PT @SHOSports#RIZINvsBellator#BellatorvsRIZIN#RIZIN40: pic.twitter.com/yC1MCTTknk
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) December 31, 2022
McKee showcased his placing, protection removing and willingness to go and keep on the mat towards the famend jiu-jitsu practitioner.
“I simply knew I wished to maintain it, you already know, form of on the toes, however I additionally wished to indicate that I wasn’t intimidated by his jiu-jitsu,” Mackey, 27, stated.
In truth, at one level within the opening spherical, McKee (20-1) was on high of de Souza (14-2) and his overactive guard. McKee’s nook yelled at him to let de Souza up and get off his submission line.
However McKee ignored their pleas. “I did not really feel any hazard. I heard them telling me to let him. However I managed him so properly on the bottom,” he stated.
The battle got here to a head within the second spherical with every throwing punches at 155 kilos till de Souza took the battle to the bottom. McKee finally escaped and commenced a collection of kicks, knees, and headbutts that had been authorized below Rizin’s guidelines.
“That was my foremost purpose, you already know, to have the ability to go on the market, use my footwork and header. So I took a few of them out,” he stated. “However my opponent, he is simply actually good on the jiu-jitsu facet, is not he? So it was exhausting for me to place myself and actually create a gap to have the ability to do this.”
McKee was capable of keep away from any vital risk within the third and remaining spherical, though de Souza picked up the tempo, scored a couple of and located himself on McKee’s again within the remaining minute.
In the long run, McKee confirmed a number of respect for his “very robust” opponent, whereas admitting that he’s nonetheless adjusting to preventing at the next weight class.
Most significantly, he was capable of present his full arsenal and maintain his personal on the mat the place he was considered at a drawback.
“It was every little thing I anticipated. It confirmed a special facet of my jiu-jitsu, even with a high-level jiu-jitsu artist like, you already know, a black belt, nonetheless many levels there are,” MeKie stated. “I simply saved preventing, you already know, preserve preventing him and attempting to do harm the entire time.
McKee will spend two extra days in Japan, being grateful to the followers there. “The tradition is simply totally different, I really feel like they worth preventing as a martial artwork,” earlier than returning residence.
Listening to that it is raining in Southern California on Saturday made McKee’s already strong 2023 even higher.
“Meaning it is snowing in Large Bear. I’m comfortable. As quickly as I get residence, I hit the slopes,” McKee stated.