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Bellator 97: Jared Downing Replaces Injured Rob Emerson On The Main Card

Jared Downing returns to Bellator for the first time in nearly three years later this month. He takes on Patricio “Pitbull” Freire, who was originally supposed to meet an injured Rob Emerson on the main card of Bellator 97.

“It takes a ton of heart to accept a fight less than 20 days out, especially when you have to step in the cage with one of the most dangerous men in the world in ‘Pitbull,'” said Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney. “Jared is a guy we’ve had our eye on for a while, and win or lose, he’ll make a great addition to our featherweight ranks.”

Downing defeated Danny Tims and Chad Vandenberg during his previous Bellator adventure. He comes from Resurrection Fighting Alliance, where he dropped their featherweight title in June.

Freire was unable to capture the title from Pat Curran during Season 8. His other career loss came from former champion Joe Warren.

Bellator 97 is July 31 and airs at 7 p.m. ET on Spike TV. They return to the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, NM for the event.