Pat Curran vs Joe Warren in Bellator Early 2012

Joe Warren and Pat Curran

Joe Warren and Pat Curran

An injury to Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire has opened up a slot for Pat Curran to step in and face Bellator featherweight champ Joe Warren in February.

Bellator made the fight official with an announcement on Tuesday.

Originally, Freire had been slotted to get a shot at Warren after winning the season 4 Bellator featherweight tournament, but a hand injury has sidelined the Brazilian and with surgery on deck he’s going to be on the shelf for the next 3 months.

Luckily for Bellator, season 5 featherweight tournament winner Pat Curran was more than happy to bump up his date with destiny and he now meets Joe Warren in early 2012.

“This is going to be a great fight,” Curran said. “. I know I have a size advantage going in, but the pace is always high with Joe, and is obviously a great wrestler, so I’m expecting the best out of him.”

Joe Warren will return for the first time since suffering a knockout loss to Alexis Vila in the Bellator bantamweight tournament still being held. Warren dropped to 135lbs to attempt to add another title to his resume, but suffered a loss instead.

Now he returns to featherweight where he faces a very tough challenge from Pat Curran.

“Everyone knows I’m a world champ at featherweight,” Warren said. ”I’m defending my belt, so there is a lot a pride on the line. I thought I was the best bantamweight in that tournament, but I got caught with a shot. I’m excited to show Pat what it means to be in a war.”

Warren and Curran will square off in the first part of 2012 with the fight currently rumored to take place in February next year.