Michael Chandler Vs. Akihiro Gono Set For May's Bellator 67

With no immediate challenger, Bellator Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler will not sit out the entire spring as it was announced Wednesday he will face Akihiro Gono on May 4 in Rama, Ontario, at Bellator 67.

Chandler (9-0) defeated Eddie Alvarez last November via fourth round submission in one of the best fights of 2011, culminating a run through his first lightweight tournament. They had no tournament in the fall and apparently weren't interested in putting together a rematch because of their strict tournament winners/title shots policy.

Instead, Gono will make his promotional debut in this non-title bout. 12 years Chandler's senior, he is the most experienced fighter Chandler has faced with a 32-17-7 record. His past includes wins over Bellator Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard, former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Gegard Mousasi and losses to Dan Henderson, Mauricio Rua and Matt Hughes.

After a long run in PRIDE, Gono made his UFC debut in November 2007 with a submission win over Tamdan McCrory but was cut in 2009 after consecutive losses to Dan Hardy and Jon Fitch. He comes into the Chandler fight with two consecutive losses with a February defeat marking his first action in nearly 18 months.

Bellator also announced that welterweight prospect Ryan Ford (17-4) will make his promotional debut against Luis Santos (50-7-1).

The event airs live on MTV2 at 8 PM EST, part of their sixth season that kicks off this Friday. For a closer look at who Chandler's next title defense could be against, check out a great preview video after the jump.

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