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Eduardo Dantas sidelined with injury, will defend title against Rafael Silva in 2014

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Photo via Bellator MMA

Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas has suffered an ankle injury and won't return to action until 2014, the organization announced via release Wednesday. A previously announced bout between Dantas and Rafael Silva will now take place in the new year, although no specific date has been made available.

"Eduardo Dantas is one of the most explosive champions in MMA, and while this injury is a setback, we all expect Eduardo back, better than ever in 2014," said Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney.

Dantas, 24, won the bantamweight title in 2012 with a win Zach Makovsky at Bellator 65. The Brazilian was upset in a bout he took outside of Bellator opposite Tyson Nam, but rebounded in 2013 with a stoppage victory over Marcos Galvao in February of 2013.

That victory marks Dantas' only bout in 2013.

Silva, 28, is undefeated inside the Bellator cage. He holds tournament wins over Rodrigo Lima, which he earned at Bellator 97 in July and most recently outpointed Anthony Leone at Bellator 102.