Bellator 197 suffered an upheaval at its main event. Brent Primus is out, and Michael Chandler is now in partnership with Brandon Girtz.
Michael Chandler’s luck worsened again. Expected to face Brent Primus in a rematch for the Bellator lightweight title at Bellator 197, plans changed just over three weeks after the fight. An injury to Primus, currently the 155-pound champion in promotion, necessitated a change of opponent. MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani first reported the news.
Girtz, for his part, welcomed the change, and for good reason.
Fight in 3.5 weeks ??!? Damn yeah !! Let’s go @BellatorMMA
– Brandon Girtz (@brandongirtzmma) March 21, 2018
This is another unfortunate turn of events for Chandler (17–4). The former two-time lightweight Bellator champion lost his title to Primus last year at Bellator NYC. The shutdown, however, left a bad taste in the mouths of almost everyone involved, prompted by a doctor’s shutdown due to a leg injury. In the months that followed, Chandler pursued a rematch, only to see Primus take his leave.
Finally tired of the wait, Chandler got into a fight with Goiti Yamauchi at the Bellator 192 in Los Angeles earlier this year. Although he openly spoke of continue money fights both in and out of the 155lb weight class, never the company man, he eventually agreed to a title fight rematch.
Brandon Girtz (15-7) is a longtime Bellator vet, joining the promotion in 2012. He recently broke a three-game losing streak, earning a KO victory over Luka Jelcic at the Bellator 190. Girtz holds notable wins over Drew Dober, Derek Campos and Melvin Guillard.
As for champion Brent Primus, it looks like an injured knee is to blame for his withdrawal. Primus (8-0) has yet to comment on the injury. Bellator MMA has yet to announce the change, although it should happen shortly.