One of the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu players will be back in the Bellator MMA cage in short order.
According a Thursday report from MMA Fighting, BJJ world champion Rafael Lovato Jr. will be back in action at Bellator 198 taking on Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran John Salter in a middleweight contest. Bellator 198 is scheduled for April 28 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., just outside of Chicago.
Bellator 198 is headlined by a quarterfinal showdown in the promotion’s ongoing heavyweight grand prix, pitting legendary former Pride Fighting Championships heavyweight king Fedor Emelianenko against past UFC champ Frank Mir.
In 2007, Lovato became just the third American-born grappler to win a International BJJ Federation world championship at the black belt level. Since turning to professional mixed martial arts in 2014, the Carlos Machado black belt has gone 7-0, including winning his last three bouts inside the Bellator cage. After taking stoppages over Charles Hackmann and Mike Rhodes in 13 seconds and 1:59 respectively, the 34-year-old Lovato earned a unanimous decision over former Edinboro University wrestler Chris Honeycutt at Bellator 189 in December.
Salter, 32, has gone 10-1 since being cut from the UFC in 2010. Since inking a Bellator contract, the Alabama native has gone 5-0 for the company, racking up wins over the likes of former promotional champion Brandon Halsey and UFC veterans Dustin Jacoby and Kendall Grove. Most recently, Salter choked out Jason Radcliffe at Bellator 188 in November.