Primus (8-0), who defeated Chandler for the 155-pound title last June, has been forced to withdraw due to a knee injury. Chandler (17-4) will now face Brandon Girtz (15-7) in a non-title affair. Sources confirmed the switch to ESPN, following an initial report by MMAFighting.com.
It’s an unfortunate turn of events for the division. A rematch between Primus and Chandler has felt inevitable, ever since Primus secured a first-round TKO at Bellator 180.
Chandler, 31, suffered a freak nerve injury in his foot during the first round. He attempted to fight through it, but could barely stand.
Girtz, of Minnesota, is coming off a first-round TKO victory over Luka Jelcic in December.
Bellator 197 will take place inside Family Arena in St. Charles, Missouri.