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Bellator debuting on January 17 with title-defenses from Michael Chandler, Pat Curran

When Bellator comes to Spike TV in a little more than a month the organization will kick things off in style with a stacked card featuring two title-fights. CEO Bjorn Rebney recently spoke to media on a conference call where he confirmed the pair of championship clashes, as well as revealed the company’s official debut on the network will take place on Thursday, January 17 and start at 10:00 PM EST.

Specifically, the lineup will boast the initial defenses for lightweight Michael Chandler and featherweight Pat Curran, both of whom will keep with Bellator tradition by facing past tournament winners.

The unbeaten Chandler is scheduled to face Olympic judoka Rick Hawn in only his second bout since taking the divisional crown away from Eddie Alvarez in November 2011, fighting a single time in 2012 where he scored a first-frame knockout of Akihiro Gono. Hawn holds an overall record of 14-1 and owns past victories over the likes of Brent Weedman, Shonie Carter, and Lyman Good.

In 145-pound action, Curran is poised to make his return to the ring after suffering a broken orbital bone in training a number of months back. The 17-4 Midwesterner has established himself as one of the best featherweights in the sport, winning his belt by way of a brutal finish over Joe Warren, with other notable performances to his credit against Roger Huerta, Mike Ricci, and Marlon Sandro. His opponent, Patricio Freire (17-1), will also be coming back from injury when the two mix it up and hasn’t fought since May 2011 when he originally earned his title-shot.