Bellator 286 is set to feature former featherweight rivals, Patricio Pitbull and A.J. McKee – however, despite links to a Long Beach trilogy rubber match, the promotional standouts will not share the cage with each other.

In lieu, recently minted featherweight champion, Pitbull, will attempt his first title defense since defeating McKee back in April, drawing the surging Hungarian contender, Adam Borics at Bellator 286 on October 1. in California. 

And as for the hometown favorite, McKee, the former undisputed featherweight champion and Grand Prix tournament victor will share the cage with UFC and Rizin FF alum, Spike Carlyle – making his lightweight division bow. News of the Bellator 286 doubleheader featuring Patricio Pitbull and A.J. McKee was first reported by the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

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Sharing a distinct rivalry, Patricio Pitbull initially clashed with McKee in the featherweight Grand Prix finale back in July of last year, dropping his undisputed featherweight title in a first round high kick and subsequent standing guillotine submission loss.

Patricio Pitbull x A.J. McKee 3 has been put on the back burner for the time being

In an immediate title rematch, the veteran, decorated Brazilian headliner Bellator 277 against champion, McKee in April, defeating the Californian in a unanimous decision-earning effort. The loss came as the ever-present Bellator feature, McKee’s first professionally. 

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As for incoming featherweight title chaser, Borics, improved to 18-1 as a professional back in March of this year, defeating fellow European standout, Mads Burnell with a unanimous decision headlining win at Bellator 276. 

For Carlyle, the charismatic, San Diego finisher makes his Bellator return against McKee, off the back of an impressive second round guillotine win against Koji Takeda under the Rizin FF banner back in April in Japan. 

14-3 as a professional with seven submission wins to go with six other knockout victories, Carlyle has previously competed for LFA and Cage Warriors to boot, and laned a knockout win over Aalon Cruz in his UFC bow back in February 2020.

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Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.