Dave Jansen injured, David Rickels steps in to challenge Michael Chandler for Bellator MMA lightweight title in July

Photo by Esther Lin via MMA Fighting

David Rickels will fill in for the injured Dave Jansen against Michael Chandler at Bellator 97 on July 31, 2013 in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.

Dave Jansen, who was expected to challenger Michael Chandler for the Bellator MMA lightweight title at Bellator 96 on June 19, 2013, has been forced out of his championship opportunity due to injury.

Replacing Jansen will be David Rickels; however, the match up has now been pushed back to Bellator 97, which is scheduled to go down on July 31, 2013.

MMA Junkie first reported the news, and Bellator MMA officials confirmed the switch on Sunday (June 2, 2013), stating that Jansen had suffered an ACL injury in training.

Chandler (11-0) has not competed since defending his 155-pound title for the first time against Rick Hawn on the inaugural Bellator MMA show on Spike TV last January.

The 27-year-old has been itching to return to the cage as soon as possible, and unfortunately he will now have to wait a little bit longer due to Jansen's injury.

Rickels (14-1) is one of the most success fighters on the Bellator MMA roster as he had come out on top in eight of his nine appearances with the organization. The lone defeat comes to top 170-pound contender Karl Amoussou by split decision.

"The Caveman" will enter the biggest opportunity of his career on a four-fight win-streak.

On top of the Chandler vs. Rickels title fight, Bellator 97 will feature a welterweight championship fight between titleholder Ben Askren and top contender Andrey Koreshkov.

For more news and notes on Bellator 97, visit our event archive here.

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