David Rickels had won the Season 8 lightweight tournament, but was looking at a possible layoff as the champion already had a No. 1 contender in Dave Jansen. When Jansen went down to an injury, it meant Rickels was next at champion Michael Chandler.
“I wasn’t off that long between winning the tournament and getting the call for this one,” said Rickels to MMA Mania. “I had just enough time to let my body rest after that tournament. I had some bumps and bruises, this and that. My conditioning feels great. Everyone’s been pushing me in camp and one thing I am certain of is I’m in shape to fight.”
He’ll need to be in shape as Chandler is considered one of the best lightweights in the world. Chandler recently signed a new eight fight deal for Bellator.
Rickels won the tournament with a finish of Saad Awad in the finals. It improves him to 14-1.
They’re on the main card of Bellator 97, which comes from the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, NM. The entire main card airs live on Spike TV this Wednesday, July 31.