31-Year-Old Bellator Lightweight 17-4-0
March 21, 2018 Michael Chandler News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Chandler will now face Brandon Girtz in the main event of Bellator 197 on April 13, as Brent Primus has withdraw due to a knee injury, Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com reports.
Chandler caught a tough break when he lost his lightweight title to Primus last June, as he suffered a fluky ankle injury that resulted in a doctor stoppage. Though it put him in incredible pain at the time, the injury did not carry any long-term consequences, and Chandler was back in the cage against Goiti Yamauchi the following January. After picking up the unanimous-decision victory, he was then booked for a Primus rematch, but that bout will now be put on hold indefinitely. Still wanting a fight and a payday, Chandler accepted a matchup against Girtz where he will be a heavy favorite. He has little to gain and a lot to lose.
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Fantasy AnalysisChandler will get a chance to avenge his tough-luck defeat at the hands of Primus just last summer, when he happened to injury his ankle in the first round of the bout, and couldn't manage to recover. "Iron" recently bested Goiti Yamauchi via unanimous decision at Bellator 192 in California this past weekend during his first fight since battling for the lightweight championship the first go-around. On the other hand, Primus hasn't fought since their bout, but will bring a perfect 8-0 record, including 6-0 in the promotion, into this rematch.
Fantasy AnalysisAs the scorecards suggest, Chandler dominated this fight. Yamauchi had his moments in this fight, including a beautiful head kick, but the former University of Missouri wrestler was in control throughout this fight. He scored takedowns nearly at will and landed ground and pound from the top. This was the former champion's first fight back after losing the Bellator lightweight title to Brent Primus on an injury stoppage. The promotion will likely remake the fight with Primus. The current champion has not fought since taking the belt from Chandler.
Fantasy AnalysisAlthough Chandler won't get his rematch against Brent Primus at this point in time, the former lightweight champion will return to the arena for the first time since his June defeat. Prior to his loss, Chandler had won his previous four bouts, and will look to get back on track against Yamauchi, who is currently riding a three-fight winning streak.
Fantasy AnalysisChandler lost the Bellator lightweight title to Brent Primus due to a strange ankle injury that ended the fight in a TKO. Though it looked serious at the time, it turned out not to be as debilitating as originally thought and Chandler is ready to get his title back. While there has been talk of finding Primus an opponent for his first title defense, Chandler doesn't appear to be at the front-runners yet but will be waiting when the opportunity arises.
Fantasy AnalysisMedically speaking, Chandler suffered a compressed peroneal nerve when he rolled his ankle early in the first round. This is the nerve responsible for bringing all mobility, motor function and sensation to the lower extremities, which explains why Chandler appeared to have rolled his ankle multiple times during the fight. Simply put, every time he tried to take a step, he rolled his ankle due to the loss of sensation. Fortunately for Chandler, there doesn't appear to be any major bone, tendon or ligament damage, so the injury isn't expected to be a long-term concern. He said he was able to walk around New York on Monday without issues, and predicts a two-week timetable for a return to normal training activities. Career-wise, the next step for Chandler is almost certainly a rematch with Brett Primus to regain his lightweight title. He was a massive favorite entering Saturday's fight, and things would have surely went down a little differently if it weren't for the fluke injury.
Fantasy AnalysisChandler rolled his ankle stepping backwards. He was clearly hurt and could not put any weight on his foot. He tried to gut it out, but Primus kept peppering him with leg kicks. Chandler continued to land hard shots on one foot, but the referee eventually stopped the bout to check the injury. This is not a power that the referee has. During the timeout, the doctor stopped the fight. Chandler will certainly get a rematch for the title.
Fantasy AnalysisBellator's second ever pay-per-view event has the names, but now it's starting to shape up by putting title belts on the line. Chandler would be a ranked lightweight in the UFC, but he's seen a lot of success in Bellator -- his only losses have came to Will Brooks and Eddie Alvarez, both of whom are now with the UFC. Chandler has won four in a row since those losses, including a split-decision win over former UFC product Benson Henderson, a title fight in which he suffered a broken right fibula. That bout took place back in November, so he should be near 100 percent by the summertime. As far as his opponent, Primus is a bit of a wildcard, as he's 7-0 in his professional career with only one knockout. Despite the inexperience, Primus is an older fighter, and will hold a slight height advantage in the bout.
Fantasy AnalysisChandler squeaked out a split-decision victory against Henderson to defend his lightweight strap, despite fading a bit in the championship rounds. Although he did enough to retain his belt, the 30-year-old will be forced to put his four-fight winning streak on hold and take some time off, though he could return earlier than the six-month window if cleared by a licensed physician. Chandler also suffered a right eyelid laceration in the belt, but that should heal well before the leg.
Fantasy AnalysisChandler came out like a house of fire in the first round. He landed some huge haymakers and even hit a German suplex straight out of professional wrestling. Henderson appeared to be hurt a few times, but he was able to survive. Chandler continued to push forward. He did not entirely dominate the fight, but he did prevent Henderson from getting his offense going. Chandler had the wrestling advantage and landed big shots whenever Henderson went for legs kicks. Those are the two biggest strength's of Henderson's game. Chandler certainly got tired as the fight went on. In the final round, the former UFC champion took the back and worked for the choke. Chandler survived and made the final bell.
Fantasy AnalysisChandler was in line to take on the winner of the Henderson/Pitbull fight at Bellator 160, and that ended up being Henderson in bizarre fashion. Henderson dropped his Bellator debut to Andrey Koreshkov on April 22, and was well on track to suffering his second straight defeat Saturday night. Pitbull was in control of that fight until he had to withdraw due to a leg injury, apparently caused by Henderson checking his kicks. Now, Chandler will defend his Bellator strap against a fighter in Henderson that does not have momentum on his side. Based on how Henderson has looked since entering the promotion, Chandler should enter this bout as the favorite.
Fantasy AnalysisInjuries have delayed Chandler's return to the octagon, but he certainly didn't show any ring rust Friday night. The new Bellator lightweight champion cashed in one of the best performances of his career against Freire, delivering a lightning-fast right hand in the first round that put his opponent's lights out. With fellow lightweight Will Brooks making the move to the UFC, the belt should be Chandler's to defend for the foreseeable future. His only career losses have been to Brooks and Eddie Alvarez, both of whom are now fighting for the UFC. At 30 years old and possessing a diverse skill set, Chandler should be a big draw for Bellator for years to come, given his health.
Fantasy AnalysisChandler (14-3) was removed from the card after his opponent, Josh Thompson (22-8, 1), sustained an unknown injury during training camp over the weekend of April 30-May 1. In place of Chandler and Thompson, Sergei Kharitonov (23-5) will fight Josh Appelt (12-5) and Andre Fialho (6-0) will fight Rick Reger (7-1).
Fantasy AnalysisEntering the bout as a -1450 favorite, Chandler perhaps took more time to finish his opponent than anticipated. Nevertheless, Chandler smothered the bloodied Rickels in the latter stages of Round 2, earning an inelegant stoppage from uncontested blows. Bellator seems to have been building Chandler back up after a trio of losses between 2013-2014; after Friday's convincing stoppage of "Caveman", Chandler should be ready to face top competition once again.
Fantasy AnalysisBellator couldn't afford to have Chandler lose four in a row so they gave him someone he should destroy and he did exactly that. Chandler looked terrific, landing a couple big shots and a takedown before the finish, but Campos wasn't a worthy opponent so it's difficult to say if he has actually gotten his game back together or not. His next fight will certainly be against better competition.