Michael Chandler faces replacement Sidney Outlaw at Bellator Japan 1

Originally set to be co-headlined by a rematch between lightweight legends Michael Chandler (19-5) and Benson Henderson, Bellator’s debut in Japan will feature a new lightweight match-up instead.

An injury has forced former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson out of the December 29 event, and in his place steps a veteran of Dana White’s Contender Series in the form of former Ring of Combat title-holder Sidney Outlaw (14-3).

Unbeaten since a narrow split decision loss to Gregor Gillespie in 2016, Sidney “Da Gun” Outlaw has proven to be an elite talent at 155-pounds, especially on a regional level. Too good for the opposition he had been facing on the regional scene in recent years, Outlaw was picked up by Bellator a few months back. Making good on his debut, the Pennsylvanian travelled to Israel and bested a veteran of the game in Roger Huerta last month. It was the most recent win of a nine-fight win streak, and just the fourth decision in those nine bouts.

“Iron” Michael Chandler is truly one of the most prolific fighters in the history of Bellator MMA, and quite arguably the best lightweight fighter in the promotion’s history. He is a three-time lightweight champion and his eleven finishes in the organization are the most in company history.

It will be the biggest test of Sidney Outlaw’s career, and it will come on perhaps the biggest stage of both men’s respective careers when they compete inside a jam-packed Saitama Super Arena on December 29. The main event is a battle of MMA royalty as Fedor Emelianenko returns to Japan to take on Quinton Jackson.

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