With lightweight titleholder Brent Primus injured; Brandon Girtz has taken a massive opportunity to step in on short-notice against former king Michael Chandler.
MMAFighting reported late Tuesday that Primus has suffered a knee injury, also confirming Girtz will be Chandler’s new opponent.
MMASucka contributor James Lynch was – per usual – quick to put out an interview with Brandon Girtz, discussing the upcoming bout.
Coming up on six years fighting exclusively for Bellator MMA, Brandon Girts (15-7) followed up a big 2014-2015 by losing three-straight in the eight-month span between November 2016 and July 2017. Though the final loss of that stretch was an absolute barnburner against Derek Campos where the fight was unfortunately stopped due to a cut.
Girtz returned in December, viciously knocking out Luka Jelcic of SBG Ireland at Bellator 190 in Italy. Though he is taking the fight on three-weeks notice, Girtz should be more than ready. As he has helped prepare teammates Justin Gaethje and Matthew Lopez for their upcoming fights at UFC on FOX 29, which takes places one day after Bellator 197.
Fighting in his own backyard, “Iron” Michael Chandler (17-4) returns to Missouri for the first time since Bellator 157. When there last time, Chandler knocked out Patricky Pitbull to win the vacant lightweight title.
He made his first successful title defense against Benson Henderson in one of the better fights of 2016 at Bellator 165. Chandler lost the title via controversial injury against Brent Primus at Bellator MMA’s massive Madison Square Garden debut in June of 2017. He returned to action in January of this year, dominating rising-star Goiti Yamauchi to earn another shot at lightweight gold.
He, unfortunately, will not get that opportunity quite yet given the injury to Primus, but he has a tough fight ahead of him with Minneapolis’ Brandon Girtz.
Bellator 197 goes down on April 13, live from The Family Arena in St. Charles, Missouri.
The Paramount Network main card will be co-headlined by a featherweight fight between undefeated AJ McKee and UFC-veteran Justin Lawrence. Kevin Ferguson Jr. – “Baby Slice” – returns to action against Devon Brock. And national wrestling champion Logan Storley looks to make it 8-0 vs. Joaquin Buckley.
Check out the full card – as it stands now – below.
Michael Chandler vs. Brandon Girtz
AJ McKee vs. Justin Lawrence
Kevin Ferguson Jr. vs. Devon Brock
Logan Storley vs. Joaquin Buckley
Josh Sampo vs. Dominic Mazzotta
Rebecca Ruth vs. Juliana Velasquez
Derek Anderson vs. Zak Bucia
Jordan Dowdy vs. Jeff Crotty
Adam Cella vs. Dewayne Diggs
Joe Roye vs. Cort Wahle
Justin Robbins vs. AJ Siscoe
Jordan Howard vs. Eric Ellington