Article by MMAJunkie.com
Following last week’s withdrawal of Bellator featherweight champion Pat Curran (17-4 MMA, 7-1 BFC) due to a broken orbital bone, his opponent, Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (17-1 MMA, 5-1 BFC), also has been scratched from Friday’s Bellator 73 card.
Bellator officials today confirmed the change with MMAjunkie.com.
Taking its spot on the main card is a bout between undefeated light heavyweights Matt Van Buren (5-0 MMA, 2-0 BFC) and Mike Mucitelli (2-0 MMA, 0-0 BFC).
Bellator 73 takes place at Harrah’s Tunica Hotel and Casino in Mississippi. The event’s main card airs on MTV2 (and in high-definition on EPIX) following prelims on Spike.com.
A new date hasn’t been determined for the Curran vs. Freire title fight, though it could come later this year in Bellator’s seventh season, which kicks off Sept. 28.
Van Buren, a Virginia-based fighter, made his pro debut two years ago and has racked up five straight wins, three via stoppage. Since signing with Bellator in late 2011, he’s posted a TKO win over Nick Nichols and a submission victory over Shawn Levesque.
Mucitelli, a well-rounded New York-based fighter, turned pro in 2010 and has posted back-to-back wins. Most recently, he submitted Eddie Hardison in July at a Matrix Fights event.
The Van Buren vs. Mucitelli winner is likely to earn consideration for an upcoming Bellator tournament slot.
The full Bellator 73 card now includes:
MAIN CARD (MTV2)
Marcos Galvao vs. Luis Nogueira (season-six bantamweight tournament final)
Attila Vegh vs. Travis Wiuff (“Summer Series” light-heavyweight-tourney final)
Ryan Martinez vs. Mike Wessel
Mike Mucitelli vs. Matt Van Buren
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike.com)
Cosmo Alexander vs. Harry Johnson
Brian Albin vs. Jacob Noe
Amaechi Oselukwue vs. Kelvin Tiller
Andy Uhrich vs. Joe Williams
Jay Black vs. Brian Hall
Chris Coggins vs. Zach Underwood