Rather than relive his 2010 classic with Patricio Freire from Bellator 23, featherweight champion Joe Warren will instead defend his title against “Summer Series” tournament-winner Pat Curran after original contender Freire recently revealed surgery on an injured hand would keep him out of the ring for at least four months.

Bellator’s decision to book Curran in place of “Pitbull” was announced shortly thereafter with February 2012 being targeted for the bout. The same month has also been mentioned in relation to a potential superfight between lightweight ace Eddie Alvarez and Japanese submission machine Shinya Aoki.

Curran earned his opportunity to face Warren as much through performance as luck with a trio of victories in the “Summer Series” tournament where he beat highly-touted Brazilian Marlon Sandro in the final. The 24-year old is 16-4 in his career with victories over Ronnie Mann, Toby Imada, and Roger Huerta.

More than only being a chance to prove he is still the “baddest man” at 145 the match-up will also mark the 7-2 Warren’s first fight since being brutally knocked out in the Season 5 bantamweight tournament meaning the former Olympian can redeem himself as a competitor in general in addition to the undisputed champ.