Pat Curran Now Faces Shahbulat Shamhalaev for Featherweight Title at Bellator 95

Damon MartinContributor IFebruary 27, 2013

Shahbulat Shamhalaev (courtesy of Bellator MMA)
Shahbulat Shamhalaev (courtesy of Bellator MMA)

It didn't take long for Bellator officials to find a replacement for injured Daniel Straus, and the good news is that the promotion's featherweight division will keep rolling with a new title fight.

Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney announced on Wednesday that season 7 tournament winner Shahbulat Shamhalaev will now face featherweight champion Pat Curran on April 4 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Shamhalaev steps in and accepts the fight with Curran just a week after defeating Rad Martinez in the finals of last season's Bellator featherweight tournament.

Shamhalaev was already next in line to face Curran following his scheduled bout with Daniel Straus, but the Ohio based fighter broke his hand in training, pushing back his shot. Now, the Russian knockout artist will take his place.

Holding a 12-1-1 record overall, Shamhalaev has been extremely impressive since joining the Bellator roster in October of last year as part of their featherweight division.

He blasted through all of his three opponents in the tournament, winning by knockout or TKO in victories over Cody Bollinger, Mike Richman and finally Rad Martinez in the finals.

Now the Russian will have a chance to take out Bellator featherweight champion Pat Curran in a highly anticipated bout in Atlantic City on April 4. Curran most recently competed in January, when he defeated Patricio "Pitbull" Freire in his first title defense since winning the belt from former champion Joe Warren in 2012.

The featherweight title fight will lead Bellator 95, which also features one of the top ranked women's fighters in the world Jessica Eye taking on Munah Holland. The undercard also showcases several familiar names, including former UFC fighter Tom DeBlass, who returns to action months after announcing his retirement from the sport.

Curran vs. Shamhalaev will serve as the main event and featured bout headlining the show that airs on Spike TV on Thursday night, April 4 kicking off at 10pm ET/PT.

Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report