The original Bellator 197 main event was slated to feature lightweight champion Brent Primus putting his title on the line against the man he took it from, Michael Chandler. That bout has been canceled, as Primus had to withdraw because of a knee injury.
MMAWeekly.com sources confirmed that the Primus was out of the fight, following an initial report by MMAFighting.com. Bellator has already moved to save the main event, however, and intends to keep Chandler in it.
The new Bellator 197 headliner is expected to see Chandler face Brandon Girtz in a non-title fight. Both parties have agreed to the bout, but the promotion has yet to make an official announcement. Bellator 197 is slated for April 13 at The Family Arena in St. Charles, Mo.
Chandler (17-4) lost the belt to Primus (8-0) at Bellator NYC in June of 2017. The bout was halted almost as soon as it got started when, little more than two minutes into the fight, the referee called time to check on Chandler, who was visibly suffering from a serious ankle injury. After it was deemed that it wasn't medically safe for Chandler to continue, Primus was awarded the victory along with the Bellator lightweight title.
Chandler returned to the cage at Bellator 192 in January, where he defeated Goiti Yamauchi by way of unanimous decision. He had hoped to reclaim the belt that he felt he never should have lost to Primus in the first place at Bellator 197. Instead, he will risk his rematch.
Also a longtime Bellator veteran, Girtz (15-7) ended a three-fight skid late last year when he knocked out Luka Jelcic at Bellator 190 in Florence, Italy.
Bellator 197 Main Card Line-up
Michael Chandler (17-4) vs. Brandon Girtz (15-7)
AJ McKee (10-0) vs. Justin Lawrence (11-4)
Kimbo Slice Jr. (2-1) vs. Devon Brock (1-0)
Logan Storley (7-0) vs. Joaquin Buckley (8-1)