Bellator on Friday officially announced lightweight champion Michael Chandler’s first title defense. He will defend against Akihiro Gono at Bellator 67 on May 4 at Casino Rama in Rama, Ontario, Canada.
After Chandler’s amazing fourth-round submission victory against then champion Eddie Alvarez at Bellator 58, the undefeated champion knows that he’s now the one with the target on his back.
“I’m just excited to get back into the cage,” Chandler said. “I fought four times in 2011 and I’m ready to get back to work. Gono has beaten some of the best fighters in the sport and this should be a good test for me.”
With 32 career wins, Gono has fought some of the world’s best, including wins over reigning Bellator Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard and world-class middleweight Gegard Mousasi.
The Bellator 67 fight card will also feature a welterweight tournament semifinal bout pitting Ben Saunders against Bryan Baker, as well as a couple notable feature fights.
Edmonton native and Canadian fan favorite Ryan Ford will make his Bellator debut against 12-year MMA veteran Luis “Sapo” Santos, who enters the fight with an incredible 50-7 professional record. The two welterweights will square off in non-tournament action and should provide fireworks.
The “Polish Pitbull” will make his return to the Bellator cage as heavyweight Damian Grabowski is set for battle against Dave “Bad Man” Huckaba in an explosive feature fight. Both heavyweights pack a tremendous punch and are always looking for a finish, so the Casino Rama crowd should be treated to fireworks on May 4.
Bellator 67 will mark the third-time ever the organization has hosted an event at Casino Rama and the fourth time the promotion has visited Canada for an event.
Bellator 67 will air live on MTV2 on Friday, May 4, at 8 p.m. ET.