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Lightweight Champ Michael Chandler Faces David Rickels on Bellator 97 Card in Rio Rancho, New Mexico

Two Championship Fights Stack Bellator 97 Card at Santa Ana Star Center July 31st

Earlier today it was reported by MMAJunkie.com that Bellator’s undefeated lightweight champion Michael Chandler (11-0) will now be facing David Rickels (14-1), July 31st at the Santa Star Casino in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.

Chandler was originally supposed to face Dave Jansen (19-2) on the June 19th Bellator card at the Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma but an injury has forced Jansen out of the fight according to the MMAJunkie.com. Rickels earned his shot at the championship by defeating Saad Awad in the final round of the lightweight tournament in March at Bellator 94.

Bellator officials have yet to confirm the news of the bout but according to MMAJunkie.com are expected to do so soon. Rickels confirmed on his Facebook page that the fight will take place July 31st.

The change would add another championship bout to an already stacked July 31st card in Rio Rancho. Currently scheduled as the main event that evening is the welterweight championship contest between current title holder Ben Askren (11-0) and Andrey Koreshkov (13-0).

Bellator 97-Santa Star Center, Rio Rancho, New Mexico Card (so far):
Ben Askren vs. Andrey Koreshkov (Bellator Welterweight Championship)
Michael Chandler vs. David Rickels (Bellator Lightweight Championship)* 
Douglas Lima vs. Ben Saunders
Patricio Freire vs. Robert Emerson
Bellator Light Heavyweight Tournament Finals: TBD vs. TBD

*Waiting to be confirmed by Bellator Officials.

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Jorge Hernandez is chief editor for SWFight.com, TV-Host of Combat Sports Weekly and Co-Host of Low Blow Radio. He can be reached on Twitter @JorgeDeBurque.