Just nine days before the highly anticipated “Bellator 160: Henderson vs. Pitbull” event on August 26 at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., injuries sustained by main card fighters Henry Corrales and Lena Ovchynnikova have shaken things up a bit. Undefeated featherweight A.J. McKee (4-0) will now face Cody Walker (7-2), while Bubba Jenkins (11-2) and Georgi Karakhanyan (24-6-1) find themselves in a featherweight feature fight during the SPIKE-televised main card.
The fights join a main card that spotlights a super fight at 155-pounds between Benson Henderson (23-6) and Patricio “Pitbull” (25-3), as the two will duke it out for a shot at Michael Chandler’s championship belt. In addition, an explosive lightweight contest pitting Saad Awad (19-7) against Derek Anderson (13-2) will serve as the evening’s co-main event.
In preliminary action, welterweights Kevin “Baby Slice” Ferguson Jr. and Joey Davis will make their professional debuts, while Chinzo Machida (3-2) will compete for the first time under the Bellator MMA banner.
Tickets for the event start at $30 and can be purchased now on Ticketmaster and at Honda Center Box Office. Doors open at 4:45 p.m. PT local time and the first preliminary bout – which streams live on Bellator.com and The Bellator Mobile App — begins at 5:00 p.m. PT.
After beginning his career 7-1 as an amateur, the 21-year-old “Mercenary” has made a splash on the professional circuit, recording a perfect 4-0 mark through his first four bouts. McKee has fought under the Bellator MMA banner ever since he made his professional debut in 2015, finishing all of his contests in the opening frame, including three knockouts and a rear-naked choke submission. McKee’s most recent victory came at the expense of Italian Danilo Belluardo during the mixed martial arts portion of Bellator MMA’s first-ever event overseas, “Bellator 152: Freire vs. Souza.” The Long Beach, Calif. native will now take his flashy personality to the Honda Center, where he will have the chance to put his unique skill set on full display in front of his hometown fans.
Agreeing to take a professional mixed martial arts contest on short notice is no easy task, doing so against an undefeated fighter the caliber of McKee is even more daunting. But that’s exactly the scenario Walker finds himself in now ahead of next Friday’s event. A two-time competitor for Bellator, “The Crow” will look to move above .500 within the promotion when he enters the cage at Honda Center. The 28-year-old Texan has ended all seven of his professional victories via TKO or KO, including four in the first round.
A longtime veteran of Bellator MMA, Karakhanyan will look to get back on track after dropping two closely contested decision losses against Jenkins, who he handily defeated nearly two years ago via guillotine submission. Known to many mixed martial arts fans as “Insane,” the 31-year-old has finished 18 of his 24 wins as a professional, earning himself multiple titles in regional promotions along the way. Following multiple setbacks to his knee, the Russian fighter is finally healthy and now looks to climb the 145-pound ladder in a competitive division that he once sat atop as the No. 1 contender.
Just a few years ago, Bubba Jenkins was widely regarded as the top MMA prospect in all of the sport, though the title became tainted following the aforementioned loss to Karakhanyan at “Bellator 132.” The former NCAA National Champion wrestler with Arizona State University now has three consecutive wins under his belt, and is looking for redemption. Heading into his 11th fight under the Scot Coker-led promotion, the 28-year-old “Highlight Kid” looks to put on a standout performance in Bellator’s incredibly deep featherweight division. Tune in August 26 to see if the Corona, Calif., native can return the favor and finish Karakhanyan in front of his local supporters.
Complete “Bellator 160: Henderson vs. Pitbull” SPIKE-Televised Main Card:
Lightweight No. 1 Contender Main Event: Benson Henderson (23-6) vs. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (25-3)
Lightweight Co-Main Event: Saad Awad (19-7) vs. Derek Anderson (13-2)
Featherweight Feature Bout: A.J. McKee (4-0) vs. Cody Walker (7-2)
Featherweight Feature Bout: Bubba Jenkins (11-2) vs. Georgi Karakhanyan (24-6-1)
Bellator.com-Streamed Preliminary Card:
Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Chinzo Machida (3-2) vs. Mario Navarro (4-4)
Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Joey Davis (Pro Debut) vs. Keith Cutrone (1-0)
Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Kevin Ferguson Jr. (Pro Debut) vs. Jon Tomasian (Pro Debut)
Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Gabriel Green (2-0) vs. Alex Trinidad (1-0)
Flyweight Preliminary Bout: Steve Ramirez (4-1) vs. Ron Henderson (4-2)
Flyweight Preliminary Bout: Kyle Estrada (3-2) vs. David Duran (3-4)
Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Mike Segura (4-3) vs. Jacob Rosales (3-2)
Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Jonny Cisneros (9-4) vs. Andy Murad (12-2)
Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Jake Roberts (6-0) vs. Stephen Martinez (11-4)