Bellator Season 7 featherweight champion Shahbulat Shamhalaev has been forced out of Friday’s bout with talented striker Akop Stepayan and will be replaced Strikeforce veteran Justin Wilcox. Shamhalaev was removed from the card in order to attend to his ailing father who resides in the fighter’s homeland of Dagestan in the Russian Federation. Bellator officials announced the move earlier today.
It has been a tough few months for Shamhalaev after dropping his short notice featherweight title shot to Pat Curran at Bellator 95. The fighter lost his long-time coach Musail Allaudinov this past July. The respected coach was shot dead in a drive-by shooting outside of Dagestan’s capital of Makhachkala.
His father’s illness is a cruel irony after his Season 7 tournament final had to be rescheduled when Rad Martinez’s father’s illness bumped Rad from the card, Shamahalaev would later defeat him at Bellator 90. No word on when Shamhalaev will be able to return.
Bellator 99 Fight Card:
Main Card (SpikeTV)
- Featherweight Quarterfinal Fight: Patricio “Pitbull” Freire vs. Diego Nunes
- Vladimir ‘The Janitor’ Matyushenko vs. Houston Alexander
- Featherweight Quarterfinal Fight: Justin Wilcox vs. Akop Stepanyan
- Featherweight Quarterfinal Fight: Joe Taimanglo vs. Andrew Fisher
- Featherweight Quarterfinal Fight: Desmond Green vs. Fabricio Guerreiro
Preliminary Card (Spike.com)
- Savio Kosic vs. Hector Ramirez
- Derek Loffer vs. Mario Navarro
- Andy Murad vs. Gavin Sterritt
- Musa Toliver vs. Goiti Yamauchi
- Manny Lara vs. Blagoi Ivanov
- Nick Moghaddam vs. Virgil Zwicker