Sidney Outlaw will fill in for Benson Henderson against Michael Chandler when Bellator heads to Japan later this month.
The Bellator Japan card has taken a considerable hit. On Thursday, news broke that former UFC lightweight champ and top Bellator contender Benson Henderson was off the card due to injury.
Henderson had been expected to face former champ Michael Chandler at the event. In his place, Sidney Outlaw will step up.
Bellator officials announced the switch via social media. The nature of Henderson’s injury was not disclosed.
For Outlaw (14-3), however, the change marks a huge step up in competition for a surging fighter. Just weeks ago, Outlaw went the distance with Roger Huerta, earning a unanimous decision in the process at Bellator 234. It was his ninth straight win, a streak that includes an appearance on Dana White’s Contender Series.
Outlaw never earned the UFC deal on the show, but he did end up working his way to Bellator. Now, he’ll fight for the second time in in less than two months for Scott Coker and company, against the man many see as the face of the promotion.
While Michael Chandler (19-5) doesn’t currently hold a belt, he remains one of the biggest threats at 155lbs in Bellator MMA. Chandler will enter the Japan card looking to bounce back from a loss to Patricio Pitbull that saw him lose his lightweight title. Prior to that he had won three straight, including the rematch over Brent Primus to reclaim the belt he’d lost in 2017.
A three-time lightweight champion in Bellator, Chandler no doubt wants to quickly move back to the front of the line. Should Outlaw be able to upset him, it could send shockwaves through the division.
Bellator Japan (Bellator 237) goes down December 29, 2020 in Saitama, Japan, airing live on Paramount Network (December 28 stateside).