Rafael Lovato Jr. has a new opponent for his featured bout at Bellator 198.
John Salter has withdrawn from the matchup and will be replaced by four-time UFC veteran Gerald Harris in a 188-pound catchweight bout. Sherdog.com confirmed the change with a promotion official on Tuesday after Lovato Jr. announced the news via social media. Bellator 198 takes place at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., on Saturday and is headlined by a heavyweight grand prix showdown pitting Frank Mir against Fedor Emelianenko.
Harris who competed in the UFC for a four-bout stint in 2010 and owns a victory over Salter, has won nine of his last 10 fights. During that time, he has notably competed in organizations such as World Series of Fighting and Legacy Fighting Championship. Most recently, he earned a fourth-round TKO win over Matt McKeon at an Xtreme Fighting League event in Oklahoma on Oct. 21. The 38-year-old owns a 25-5 career record.
An accomplished Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner, Lovato has kicked off his MMA career with seven consecutive victories. He last appeared at Bellator 189, where he captured a unanimous decision win against Chris Honeycutt.
Update: Salter on Tuesday revealed that he was not cleared to fight at Bellator 198 due to an eye issue.
I have terrible news. Unfortunately the IL athletic commission did not approve me to fight because of an eye issue. I just found out. I am really sorry to everyone that is going to the fight and to all of my sponsors and training partners. I did everything that I could to get cleared. I am especially sorry to @lovatojrbjj who is a professional and does not deserve to have opponent change that short of time. I will be taking care of the issue and will be back soon.