A lightweight showdown between Benson Henderson and Patricky Freire and Roy Nelson’s promotional debut will serve as the featured attractions at Bellator 183 on Sept. 23.
Henderson vs. Freire will be the headliner of the card at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. Freire was removed from a previously scheduled main event bout against Derek Campos at Bellator 181 on July 14. As a result, Campos will square off with Brandon Girtz in the new Bellator 181 headliner. The bout were announced by the California-based organization over the weekend.
Meanwhile, Nelson will lock horns with Javy Ayala in a heavyweight duel at Bellator 183. Ayala had been booked against Valentin Moldavsky at Bellator 181.
Henderson last appeared at Bellator 165 on Nov. 19, when he dropped a split decision to Michael Chandler in a lightweight title affair. “Smooth” is now 1-2 with Bellator following a lengthy tenure in the UFC. Freire has won three of his last four contests, including a brutal second-round knockout of former Strikeforce champion Josh Thomson in his most recent outing at Bellator 172.
Nelson, 41, signed with Bellator after posting a 9-10 mark in the UFC since beginning his tenure with the Las Vegas-based promotion in 2009. “Big Country” has won just two of his last seven bouts and last appeared at UFC on Fox 24, where he dropped a decision to Alexander Volkov. Ayala enters the matchup on a two-fight winning streak that includes a surprising 16-second knockout of Sergei Kharitonov at Bellator 163.