Bellator 253: Caldwell vs. McKee Play-by-Play

This article is the play-by-play to accompany the live coverage of Bellator 253 on the website. Live coverage of the show can be viewed here.

Quick Results:

Preliminary Card (4:45PM EST) (Youtube)

Bout 1: Sullivan Cauley def. Jason Markland via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 0:28)

Bout 2: Kaheem Murray def. Baby Slice via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 3: Jay Jay Wilson def. Sergio DeBari via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 0:20)

Bout 4: Jaleel Willis def. Mark Lemminger via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 5: Jeremy Kennedy def. Matt Bessette via Decision, Unanimous

Main Card (7:00PM EDT) (CBS Sports Network)

Bout 6: Raufeon Stots def. Keith Lee via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 7: Joey Davis def. Bobby Lee via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 8: Jason Jackson def. Benson Henderson via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 9: AJ McKee Jr def. Darrion Caldwell via Submission, Neck Crank (RD 1, 1:11) (16-0) (Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix Semifinal)

Play-by-Play:

Bout 1: Sullivan Cauley (0-0) vs. Jason Markland (0-1) (Light Heavyweight)

Cauley dropped Markland with a right cross in the opening moments of the fight. Cauley landed ground and pound from his feet until the referee stopped the fight.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Cauley
Markland

Bout 2: Baby Slice (3-2) vs. Kaheem Murray (3-3) (Lightweight)

Slice shot for a takedown in the first minute of action, putting Murray against the cage after the attempt was stopped. The fight returned to striking on the feet in the second minute. The striking was slow paced from both fighters, although Murray was the more active fighter.

Murray was able to get a takedown in the second minute of the second round. Slice was able to work back up to his feet a minute later. Murray was able to chase Slice down with strikes on the feet. Murray landed a series of punches that clipped Slice in the fourth minute, dropping him to his knees. Slice was able to recover while shooting for a takedown. 

The fighters had a slow pace of striking throughout the third round. Murray let a combination of punches go before the round ran out of time. Murray got the win after three rounds (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Slice 9 9 9 27
Murray 10 10 10 30

Bout 3: Jay Jay Wilson (6-0) vs. Sergio DeBari (5-1) (Featherweight)

A right hook from Wilson dropped DeBari in the opening minute. He landed follow-up punches as the referee stepped in to stop the fight.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Wilson
DeBari

Bout 4: Jaleel Willis (13-2) vs. Mark Lemminger (11-2) (Welterweight)

Both fighters threw wild punches early in the first round. Lemminger caught a flying knee in the first minute, although he failed to land a takedown after. Willis was the more active striker throughout the round. Willis looked for a takedown in the final minute of the round, although Lemminger was able to resist it by backing up against the cage.

A pause came early in the second round as the mouthguard of Lemminger was knocked out. Willis caught a leg kick in the second minute of the round and attempted a takedown after. Lemminger stopped the attempt then looked for a guillotine choke on the feet. Willis escaped the choke and let a combination of punches go. Lemminger stopped a takedown attempt in the third minute, taking top position on the ground after being in a sprawl position. He took the back of Willis. Lemminger looked for a rear naked choke in the final minute of the round. Lemminger kept on the back of Willis until the round concluded.

Lemminger’s face looked quite swollen due to strikes heading into the third round. Both fighters kept a close and fast paced striking battle in the third round to make a close end to the fight. All three judges gave the fight to Willis after three rounds (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Willis 10 9 10 29
Lemminger 9 10 9 28

Bout 5: Jeremy Kennedy (15-2) vs. Matt Bessette (24-9) (Featherweight)

Bessette put together some singular shots early in the first couple of minutes in the fight. Kennedy scored a double leg takedown in the third minute as Bessette came to him with strikes. Bessette was able to work back up to his feet in the fourth minute, although Kennedy stayed attached to him and scored another takedown. Kennedy was able to get his third takedown in the final minute of the round.

Kennedy looked for a takedown early in the second round, putting a body lock on Bessette. Kennedy was able to throw Bessette down for a takedown in the third minute of the round, taking his back on the ground after. Kennedy landed a double leg takedown in the fourth minute. He finished the round with punches to Bessette after notching another takedown.

Kennedy spent a large potion of the final round in control on the ground. Late in the round Kennedy landed a series of punches and elbows from half guard on too. He took the back of Bessette in the final moments. Kennedy won via decision after 15 minutes of action (30-27, 30-26 & 30-26).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Kennedy 10 10 10 30
Bessette 9 9 9 27

Bout 6: Keith Lee (7-3) vs. Raufeon Stots (14-1) (Bantamweight)

Stots would explode with combinations of punches in the first round. He put Lee against the cage in a body lock in the third minute. Stots threw a leg kick as Lee left the clinch. Stots took Lee down to the ground in the fourth minute of the round, being on his back. Stots stayed on the back of Lee until the round ran out of time.

Stots and Lee had close striking on the feet early in the second round. Stots kept the pressure on Lee throughout the round, keeping him up against the cage with his strikes. Stots was able to score a takedown in the closing moments of the fight, getting on the back of Lee before the round expired.

Lee was backed against the cage due to strikes in the first minute of the final round. Both fighters threw wailing hooks at each other. Lee was able to connect with a knee to the head during an exchange. Stots slowly took the fight to the ground in the second minute, looking for a guillotine choke on the ground. They worked back up to their feet with just over two minutes left to fight. Lee started to bleed from the nose in the final round. Stots landed a takedown in the final minute of the round. Stots won via decision after three rounds (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Lee 9 9 9 27
Stots 10 10 10 30

Bout 7: Joey Davis (7-0) vs. Bobby Lee (12-4) (Welterweight)

Lee shot for a takedown in the opening minute of the fight, although Davis was able to stop it then land a takedown of his own. Lee sat up for a moment on the ground, although he was put on his back after being hurt by a series of punches. Staying active with strikes, Davis was able to keep control over Lee on the ground until the end of the round.

Davis stopped a single leg takedown attempt from Lee in the first minute of the second round. Davis was able to shoot and score for his own takedown in the first minute. Lee got back to his feet in the second minute of the round, separating and returning to striking shortly after. Davis landed his third takedown of the fight in the third minute.

Lee came forward with some leg kicks to start the third round. Davis landed another takedown a minute into the third round. Davis kept control on top for the rest of the round. After his strong performance, Davis swept the scorecards (30-26, 30-27 & 30-27).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Davis 10 10 10 30
Lee 8 9 9 26

Bout 8: Benson Henderson (28-9) vs. Jason Jackson (12-4) (Welterweight)

Jackson was aggressive at the start, walking Henderson down with strikes. Jackson was able to stop a takedown attempt in the second minute of the fight, only getting down to his knees. Jackson was putting together better strikes on the feet. He was able to catch kicks during the round and counter with strikes of his own.

Jackson advanced on Henderson with strikes early in the second round. Jackson was able to get a takedown in the second minute of the round. Jackson got on the back of Henderson in the fourth minute after letting a guillotine choke go. Henderson was able to get up to his feet in the fourth minute of the round, although Jackson was able to get another takedown from a clinch. Henderson was able to take control on the ground in the final minute of the round. He got back to the feet in a body lock with Jackson. Henderson looked for a takedown, although Jackson was able to scrabble out of the position and return to the feet. Jackson got a takedown from the clinch right before the round ended.

Henderson landed a takedown a minute into the third round. Getting back to the feet in the second minute, Jackson brought the fight back down with a takedown of his own. Henderson was consistently slipping and falling in the third round after missing with kicks. Jackson held control on the ground for a moment after Henderson slipped. The fight went back to the feet just before the round ran out of time. Jackson won on scorecards after three rounds (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Henderson 9 9 9 27
Jackson 10 10 10 30

Bout 9: Darrion Caldwell (14-3) vs. AJ McKee Jr. (16-0) (Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix Semifinal)

Caldwell got a takedown in the first 30 seconds of the fight. He took full guard on top after settling in. McKee Jr. put in a neck crank from his back which made Caldwell tap out, ending the fight. The rare submission moved McKee Jr. into the grand final of the tournament.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Total
McKee Jr.
Caldwell

 

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