AJ McKee to face Sidney Outlaw in Bellator return in November

AJ McKee has found himself back in the Bellator lightweight tournament mix after all. Sort of.

McKee, the former Bellator featherweight champion and one of the promotion's biggest stars, will face Sidney Outlaw on Nov. 17 in a Bellator Lightweight World Grand Prix alternate bout, Outlaw's manager, Ali Abdelaziz of Dominance MMA, and sources told ESPN on Friday. The card will take place in Chicago.

McKee was scheduled to be in the tourney but withdrew from a July 26 quarterfinal bout with Patricky "Pitbull" Freire because of injury and was replaced by Roberto "Satoshi" de Souza. Outlaw was also supposed to be in the grand prix but was pulled because of a failed drug test.

Bellator's Nov. 17 card will feature the lightweight semifinal between Freire and Alexander Shabliy. Bellator lightweight champion Usman Nurmagomedov will face Brent Primus in another semifinal Oct. 7 at Bellator 300 in San Diego.

McKee (20-1) has won two straight after losing for the first time in his career to Freire in April 2022 in a featherweight title bout. The 28-year-old Long Beach, California, native is tied with Patricio and Michael Chandler for the most finishes in Bellator history (13).

Outlaw (17-5), a 31-year-old Pennsylvania native, is coming off a unanimous decision win over Islam Mamedov last month. He has won three of his past four.

The Bellator headliner for Nov. 17 is a welterweight title main event between champion Yaroslav Amosov and Jason Jackson. In the co-main event, bantamweight champ Sergio Pettis and interim titleholder Patchy Mix look to unify the bantamweight belts.