Pat Curran had been training for months as he was set to defend his featherweight championship at Bellator 95. That will still happen, but against a totally different fighter than originally thought.
Daniel Straus was to have been the challenger, but pulled out with a broken hand. He was arrested later in the week on several drug charges. Curran now takes on Shahbulat Shamhalaev.
“They’re definitely different fighters and I have to go in there with a completely different mindset and gameplan,” said Curran to MMA Weekly. “I feel like I’m an experienced, well-rounded fighter and little tweaks here and there will make the difference.”
On the first Bellator show for Spike TV in January, Curran opened the main card with a split-decision win over Patricio “Pitbull” Freire. It improved his Bellator record to 8-1.
Shamhalaev finished all three of his tournament fights by way of his fist within two rounds. He won the Season 7 tournament in late February.
Bellator 95 will be the final show for the current season and is on April 4. It comes from Revel Casino in Atlantic City, NJ and airs on Spike TV at 10 p.m. ET.