Veteran lightweights Benson Henderson and Roger Huerta are set to do battle on short notice in the main event of Bellator 196. the promotion announced Tuesday.
Rising Irish star James Gallagher was originally scheduled to headline the April 6 event in Budapest, Hungary but a hand injury forced him off the card and forced Bellator brass to call an audible.
“Want to say sorry to everyone who was tuning to watch me fight for this setback,” Gallagher wrote on Instagram. “I was at 100% healthy and ready to strangle everyone in this division once again, but I fractured my hand in an unlucky training accident. I stayed in the fight and would have done it with one hand easy, but unfortunately I couldn’t get medically cleared and had to step out.”
Gallagher added that he hopes to be able to compete at Bellator 200 in London, England on May 25.
Henderson (24–8) has gone 1-3 in Bellator since leaving the UFC in 2016 but his first loss was a unanimous decision up a weight class to former welterweight champion Andrey Koreshkov and his two most recent losses were split decisions to Michael Chandler and Patricky Freire. The former UFC lightweight champion holds notable victories over Nate Diaz, Frankie Edgar, Donald Cerrone, Gilbert Melendez, Clay Guida and Jorge Masvidal among others.
Huerta (24–9–1 with one no contest) is returning to Bellator for the first time since a 2010 loss to Eddie Alvarez. The 34-year-old has been primarily competing in the Singapore-based ONE Championship promotion. Huerta has lost eight of his past 12 fights dating back to 2008.