Bellator 171 Fight Card Grows with 3 New Bouts

A featherweight feature fight pitting A.J. McKee (6-0) against Brandon Phillips (6-2) has been added to the SPIKE-televised main card of Bellator 171 at the Kansas Star Arena on Jan. 27.

In addition, Kansas’ own Jessica Middleton (1-0) will take on Alice Yauger (4-4) in a female flyweight clash, while Uruguayan knockout artist Gaston Reyno (6-1, 2 NC) highlights a stacked preliminary card when he meets Justin Overton (3-2).

The evening’s main event features a 175-pound catchweight showdown between MMA veteran Melvin Guillard (32-16-2, 3 NC) and knockout specialist Chidi Njokuani (16-4, 1 NC). “The King of Kansas” David Rickels (17-4, 2 NC) also returns to the Bellator cage, as he will take on Aaron Derrow (14-8) in a lightweight feature fight.

McKee enters the Bellator MMA cage undefeated and continues to prove that he is one of the top young prospects in the sport of MMA. With each of McKee’s six professional fights coming under the direction of Bellator MMA, the 21-year-old Team BodyShop product has made a name for himself from day one, showing both exceptional power and elusiveness every time he steps into the cage. After finishing each of his first five opponents with opening round victories, “Mercenary” was finally taken the distance in his most recent bout with Ray Wood, earning a hard-fought unanimous decision win at Bellator 166. A native of Long Beach, Calif., McKee will return to the Midwest in search of his first win of 2017.

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Taking his ninth professional fight, 27-year-old Brandon Phillips will participate in the main card action for the first time in his Bellator MMA career. Phillips began his professional career with a bang, delivering five consecutive victories, with four knockouts, and earning well-deserved attention from the Scott Coker-led promotion. Phillips made his Bellator MMA debut in 2016, collecting a unanimous decision victory over Chuka Willis at Bellator 159. After recording finishes in five of six career wins, the Oklahoma City native will make the short trip up North to Kansas Star Arena, where he will have the opportunity to add to that impressive total.

Fighting out of Wichita, Kansas, 28-year-old Jessica Middleton will look to add to her impressive professional debut, a clutch victory over Bruna Ellen at last year’s Bellator 159 when she competes on Jan. 27. Following an undefeated amateur career, the hometown favorite now hopes to preserve her unblemished professional mark in a flyweight fight with Alice Yauger. An eight-fight veteran of MMA, Yauger enters the bout having won each of her last two contests and three of her past four. Hailing from Arlington, Texas, the 38-year-old Yauger hopes to use her experience advantage when she makes her promotional debut against the younger Middleton.

Making his fourth appearance under the Bellator MMA banner, Reyno enters the bout in search of his third win under the promotion and second in a row. A native of Montevideo, Uruguay, Reyno has delivered finishes in each of his six career victories, including five straight first round stoppages to begin his professional career. “Tonga” will now direct his attention to Kansas Star Arena and Jan. 27, where he will look to build off of an impressive knockout win over L.J. Hermreck at Bellator 159.

Bellator 171: Guillard vs. Njokuani Main Card:

  • 175 lb. Catchweight Main Event: Melvin Guillard (32-16-2, 3 NC) vs. Chidi Njokuani (16-4, 1 NC)
  • Lightweight Feature Fight: Dave Rickels (17-4, 2 NC) vs. Aaron Derrow (14-8)
  • Featherweight Feature Fight: A.J. McKee (6-0) vs. Brandon Phillips (6-2)
  • Flyweight Feature Fight: Jessica Middleton (1-0) vs. Alice Yauger (4-4)

Preliminary Card:

  • Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Chris Harris (7-0) vs. Jordan Young (5-0)
  • Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Gaston Reyno (6-1, 2 NC) vs. Justin Overton (3-2)
  • Weltereweight Preliminary Bout: Will Lavine (Debut) vs. Domo Garcia (Debut)
  • Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Chance Rencountre (8-2) vs. Jake Lindsay (11-5)
  • Bantamweight Preliminary Bout: Johnny Marigo (2-0) vs. Joe Fulk (4-4)
  • Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Manny Meraz (8-3) vs. Scott Heston (4-1)
  • Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Craig Farley (Debut) vs. Mike Breeden (Debut)

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