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Eduardo Dantas explains injury, eyes late-2015 return against Bellator champion Marcos Galvao

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Eduardo Dantas was forced out of a Bellator 144 main event with bantamweight champion Marcos Galvao due to an injury, and hopes to be back in action by the end of the year.

The former 135-pound champion, who holds a second-round knockout win over Galvao on his record, released a statement on Thursday, revealing that UFC featherweight Hacran Dias caused his rib injury.

"It was one of my last hard training sessions for the fight, I was in the final stretch. Unfortunately, and unintentionally, Hacran Dias hit me. I had trouble breathing at the moment, I got desperate, and was taken to the hospital. I was advised, against my will, to pull out of the fight against ‘Loro’ because of a dislocation in one of my ribs.

"I was waiting for this chance since Oct. 11, 2014, the day after my fight against Joe Warren, when I lost my belt. Since then, I wished for another opportunity to fight for the title seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Destiny wanted this not to happen on the 23rd, but I can’t wait for this to become true.

"I’m sorry about this incident and I ask for apologies to all parts involved (promotion, sponsors and fans), and especially ‘Loro’, who I’m sure was working hard so we could fight again. Just like me, I can imagine that all his efforts during these months were focused on this fight. But we’re high-level athletes who train to the limit, and I believe he’ll understand what happened to me. I hope I can recover quickly so I can still fight him in 2015.

"I’ve got a lot of messages from my fans through social media, and that makes me work even harder to recover and come back faster to training and to the Bellator cage. Thank you all for the love."

With Galvao vs. Dantas cancelled, Bellator 144 will now be headlined by Brandon Halsey vs. Rafael Carvalho for the middleweight title. The fight card takes place at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn, on Oct. 23.