Unbeaten Brazilian Bruno “Carioca” Santos has been forced from Bellator Fighting Championships’ sixth-season middleweight tournament due to a shoulder injury.
Santos, who earned his slot in the tournament semifinals by outpointing Giva Santana on March 16, was slated to face Brian Rogers this Friday at Bellator 66. Instead, promotion officials today announced that Rogers will take on late replacement and Bellator newcomer Andreas Spang (Pictured) at the I-X Center in Cleveland.
“I don’t know anything about my new opponent,” Rogers wrote on Twitter. “I don’t care, so don’t ask me about it. You have Google just like me, guys.
“He’s the exact opposite of Bruno Santos. Spang is a tall kickboxer; Santos was a short grappler. I just want to fight Friday, get the win and get paid,” Rogers elaborated. “I don’t care about the switch really. Since Santos was undefeated, it would have been nice to hand him his first loss, but he’s just another fight. Spang is just another fight also.”
Rogers, 28, secured his semifinal spot with a spectacular flying knee stoppage of Vitor Vianna on March 16, an early candidate for “Knockout of the Year.” The Ohio-born “Predator” has gone 2-1 in the Bellator cage, topping Victor O’Donnell in last season’s quarterfinals before being stopped by two-time tourney winner Alexander Shlemenko in the semis.
A Swedish expat now based in Las Vegas, 33-year-old Spang has finished back-to-back opponents. Following a 1-1 run in Canada’s Maximum Fighting Championship, the former kickboxer punched out Greg Jackson-trained wrestler Willie Parks last November in his Strikeforce debut.
The winner of the Rogers-Spang bout will go on to meet the winner of the Maiquel Falcao-Vyacheslav Vasilevsky semifinal, which also takes place Friday.