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Shahbulat Shamhalaev steps in

Bellator featherweight champion Pat Curran will defend his title April 4 against Season 7 Tournament winner Shahbulat Shamhalaev, the promotion announced Wednesday.

The fight takes place at Revel Casino in Atlantic City, N.J.

Shamhalaev replaces Bellator Season 6 Featherweight Tournament winner Daniel Straus, who was forced to withdraw from the bout after fracturing his left hand during a recent training session.

"When Daniel went down with his injury, I reached out to Shahbulat and his manager to see if he was ready for this fight, and without hesitation his answer was 'Yes,' " Bellator chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney said. "After watching Shahbulat's run through our last tournament, I couldn't think of a better fight to end our season than Curran-Shabulat on April 4."

Shamhalaev (12-1-1) won the Season 7 145-pound tournament on Feb. 21, when he knocked out Rad Martinez in the second round at Bellator 90.

Curran (18-4) makes his second defense of the title he won in March 2012 with a third-round knockout of Joe Warren.

In his most recent outing on Jan. 17, Curran retained his belt with a split decision over Patricio Freire.