Pat Curran vs Shahbulat Shamhalaev featherweight title fight booked for April 4 Bellator event in place of injured Daniel Straus

Shahbulat Shamhalaev (center) will be fighting Pat Curran at the April 4th Bellator season 8 Finale - Photo via Bellator

Pat Curran has a new opponent for the Bellator season eight finale on April 4th as the featherweight champion will now defend his title against season seven 145 lb. tournament champion Shahbulat Shamhalaev. Curran's original opponent, Daniel Straus, has been pulled from the fight after reportedly breaking his hand. Get all the details below.

When one door closes, another opens.

Pat Curran was expected to face season five tournament winner Daniel Straus at the Bellator season eight finale this upcoming April, but those plans were scratched when word came out that the scrappy Cincinnati native broke his hand yesterday and had been forced to pull out of the fight.

Thankfully, with all the recent tournaments concluding, Bellator already had a contender waiting in the wings in Russian striking phenom Shahbulat Shamhalaev.

Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney broke the news on Twitter just moments ago:

Shamhalaev put a beating on Rad Martinez less than a week ago in the main event of Bellator 90 at West Valley City, Utah, knocking the wrestler out in the second round in front of Martinez's hometown fans.

The turnaround for Shamhalaev's next fight will be a wild six weeks, and this time it could potentially go all five rounds.

In Curran, "The Assasin" will be facing the stiffest test of his career, a top 10 featherweight in the world according to our SBN rankings. Curran has defeated the likes of Mike Ricci, Roger Huerta, Marlon Sandro, Joe Warren and most recently Patricio Freire in his stellar run under the Bellator banner which has seen him rise to become a two-time tournament winner and the featherweight champion.

Shamhalaev possesses some serious power, accuracy and some of the featherweight division's best hand speed. Does he have a shot at dethroning the champ?

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