Brett Cooper will step in for an injured Doug Marshall to face middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko at Bellator 98 on Sept. 7, company officials announced on Monday.
Marshall suffered a broken toe in training and will be unfit to compete at next month’s card, which takes place at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncaseville, Conn.
“Brett Cooper is a warrior,” Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney wrote on Twitter following the announcement. “Lucky to have him stepping up Sept. 7.”
Cooper (19-8) last competed against the very man he’s replacing, Marshall, wherein the 26-year-old suffered a knockout loss to the now-injured fighter. The loss snapped Cooper’s six-fight win streak.
Shlemenko (47-7) earned the Belltor middleweight title in his most recent effort, a knockout of Maiquel Falcão at Bellator 88 last February. Former middleweight title holder Hector Lombard vacated the title when he signed a free agent deal with the UFC.
Bellator 88 also includes a co-main event between Joe Warren and Nick Kirk.