Bellator Bantamweight Champion Eduardo Dantas will not defend his title latest this year as planned, as the promotion has announced that the rising star will be out until 2014. The 15-3 fighter has been sidelined due to an ankle injury.

Although Dantas did not have an official date set for his next bout, the 24 year-old was expected to face “Summer Series” tourney winner Rafael Silva in the coming months. Bellator CEO and Chairman Bjorn Rebney was quoted saying in the announcement relaying the news:

“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.”

The injury means Dantas could go a year or so without fighting, as the last time the Nova Uniao fighter competed was in February, when he knocked out Marcos Galvao at Bellator 89. Dantas was KO’d by veteran Tyson Nam at a Shoot Brazil card last August, which was his first loss since 2009. “Dudu” has gone 5-0 in Bellator to date, and choked out Zach Makovsky in April, 2013, to win the promotion’s bantamweight belt.

Silva locked up a title fight with Dantas earlier this month, by scoring a unanimous decision win over Anthony Leone at Bellator 102.  Travis Marx and Joe Warren will fight in the coming weeks to determine which bantamweight is next in line for a title fight after Silva.

Stay tuned to Caged for all your Bellator news.