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David Rickels Blew Up His Hand With Fireworks On Independence Day

David Rickels’ Bellator lightweight title shot almost didn’t happen. A fireworks accident on July 4th put Rickels’ hand in danger.

“Everything is great, but I had a big open wound on my hand, and I had to be really careful as far as not getting infected,” said Rickels to MMA Weekly. “I’ve done a really good job, surprisingly. I’ve got a resilient body and I’m feeling great going into this fight.”

He defeated Lloyd Woodard, Jason Fischer and Saad Awad to win the Season 8 tournament. The final win came by knockout.

The champion, Michael Chandler, is undefeated at 11-0. He’s defended the belt once since winning it in November 2011.

They headline today’s Bellator 97 from the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, NM. The main card airs live on Spike TV at 7 p.m. ET.