Shamhalaev will return to the cage on April 4, when the Season
7 tournament winner takes on reigning featherweight champion
Curran at Bellator
Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney announced the booking
Wednesday. Bellator 95 takes place at the Revel in Atlantic City,
N.J., and was initially supposed to be headlined by a rematch
between Curran and Season 6 tournament winner Daniel
Straus. However, Straus was recently forced to withdraw from
the title bout due to a broken hand.
Shamhalaev, 29, has gone 10-0-1 in his last 11 fights, finishing
Bollinger and Mike
Richman with violent, first-round knockouts to advance to the
Season 7 finals against Rad
Martinez. That pairing was twice delayed, however, and was
forced to take place in Season 8 at Bellator 90, where Shamhalaev
stopped Martinez in the second round.
Curran, 25, began his Bellator run as a lightweight, winning the
Season 2 tournament before coming up short against then-champion
Alvarez. Since dropping to featherweight, the Illinois resident
has posted five straight wins, capturing the 2011 Summer Series
crown before snatching Bellator’s world title from Joe Warren
last year. Most recently, Curran defended his belt for the first
time, taking a split decision from Patricio
Freire last month at Bellator 85.