Adli Edwards will get the big opportunity he was hoping for.
Jeremy Kennedy has been forced out of Bellator 277 and Edwards (9-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) will step in on short notice to face Aaron Pico (9-3 MMA, 9-3 BMMA) on April 15 at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif.
A person with knowledge of the new matchup told MMA Junkie of the booking Thursday, but asked to remain anonymous since the promotion has yet to make an official announcement. TSN was first to report the news.
Training under former UFC lightweight Marcus Davis in North Carolina, Edwards is fresh off a first-round submission of Josh Harvey in this past week’s XMMA 4 event. The All-American wrestler has won seven in a row and recently told MMA Junkie he expected a win over Harvey to catapult him to the next stage.
Pico, who just signed a new Bellator deal, went the distance for the first time in his career when he scored a lopsided unanimous decision over Justin Gonzales at Bellator 271. Prior to that, the 25-year-old had four straight finishes over Daniel Carey, Chris Hatley, John de Jesus and Aiden Lee.
With the change, the Bellator 277 lineup now includes:
MAIN CARD (Showtime, 10 p.m. ET)
- Champ A.J. McKee vs. Patricio Freire – for featherweight title
- Champ Vadim Nemkov vs. Corey Anderson – for light heavyweight title; light heavyweight tournament final
- Adli Edwards vs. Aaron Pico
- Tim Johnson vs. Linton Vassell
PRELIMINARY CARD (MMA Junkie, 7 p.m. ET)
- Gaston Bolanos vs. Ali Jafri
- Rakim Cleveland vs. Tyrell Fortune
- Rafael Carvalho vs. Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov
- Kyle Crutchmer vs. Michael Lombardo
- Calob Ramirez vs. Bobby Seronio III
- Rhalan Gracie vs. Tyson Miller
- Edwin De Los Santos vs. Alberto Mendez
- Socrates Hernandez vs. Rogelio Luna
- Laird Anderson vs. JT Donaldson
- Alan Benson vs. Theo Haig