Rafael Lovato Jr. will not remain on the Bellator 214 card against a replacement foe after original opponent Gegard Mousasi withdrew from the event due to a back injury.
Sherdog.com confirmed the news with a promotion official following an initial report from MMAjunkie.com It is currently unclear if Lovato Jr. will be rebooked against the reigning Bellator middleweight champion at a later date. The California-based organization had initially hoped to keep Lovato Jr. on the card after Mousasi's withdrawal.
Bellator 214 takes place on Jan. 26 at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., and is headlined by a heavyweight championship tilt between Ryan Bader and Fedor Emelianenko. A featherweight bout between Aaron Pico and Henry Corrales has been elevated to the co-main event as a result of the Mousasi-Lovato Jr. cancellation. Bellator 214 will air on Paramount Network and stream on DAZN.
Lovato Jr. has reeled off nine consecutive victories to begin his professional career, including five straight under the Bellator banner. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt last appeared at Bellator 205, where he submitted John Salter with a rear-naked choke in the third frame.