Michael Chandler’s shot at winning back the Bellator lightweight title will have to wait. Champion Brent Primus has been forced out of their upcoming fight at Bellator 197 with an injury. Chandler will stay on the card, which takes place April 13 at The Family Arena in St. Charles, Mo., and face Brandon Girtz.
Chandler lost the lightweight title against Primus at Bellator 180 last year. He appeared to be winning the fight before suffering a leg injury that prevented him from continuing. Chandler recently got back on the winning track when he defeated Goiti Yamauchi at Bellator 192 earlier this year. The former Missouri wrestler won the won the belt for the second time over Patricky Freire and defended it once over former UFC champion Benson Henderson before falling to Primus.
Girtz recently avoided a four-fight losing streak. He stopped Luka Jelcic at Bellator 190 last December. Prior to that win, Girtz had dropped fights against Adam Piccolotti, Fernando Gonzalez and Derek Campos. Girtz has been fighting exclusively for Bellator since 2012 and holds signature wins over Poppies Martinez and Melvin Guillard.
This bout will serve as the main event of Bellator 197. In the co-main event, featherweight prospect AJ McKee will look to keep his undefeated run going against TUF veteran Justin Lawrence.