Perfect in nine professional appearances, Daly last competed in November, when she earned a unanimous verdict against Strikeforce veteran Maiju Kujala under the Rumble in Rush banner in her native Ireland. The 22-year-old has secured eight of her nine victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission. Daly has never fought in the United States.
Ward has posted two wins in her past three fights and dazzled in her promotional debut two months ago, as she choked Stephanie Frausto unconscious at Bellator 22. A decorated ground fighter, the 27-year-old Washington native won gold at the 2007 World Grappling Championships and owns 10 submissions among her 13 mixed martial arts victories. Ward was the last woman to defeat retired Japanese standout Miku Matsumoto.
Meanwhile, Tyler Stinson will answer the bell on short notice, as he meets Steve Carl in a televised catchweight tilt. Stinson replaces UFC veteran Rory Markham, who was not medically cleared to compete.
Bellator 26 will also feature the last heavyweight tournament quarter-final match pairing Mike Hayes with Alexey Oleinik and a Season 3 bantamweight tournament quarter-final pitting Jose Vega against Danny Tims.
Bellator Fighting Championships 26
Thursday, Aug. 26
Kansas City Power and Light District
Kansas City, Mo.
Mike Hayes vs. Alexey Oleinik
Jose Vega vs. Danny Tims
Aisling Daly vs. Lisa Ward
Tyler Stinson vs. Steve Carl
Rudy Bears vs. Zak Cummings
Kevin Croom vs. Brian Davidson
Brian Imes vs. John Ott
Jeb Chiles vs. Demetrius Richards