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.
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.