Bellator 214 on Jan. 26 is down a title fight. Gegard Mousasi is out due to injury. More: https://t.co/gICGtYZJnP— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) December 20, 2018
Eleven days before the start of the new year and 2019 has already lost a big fight, with Gegard Mousasi pulling out of his title bout against Rafael Lovato Jr. at Bellator 214 due to injury.
ESPN broke the news on Thursday, reporting that Bellator MMA middleweight champ Mousasi has been forced to withdraw from his bout at Bellator 214 on Jan. 26 due to a back injury. The promotion has not yet announced whether he will be replaced or if Lovato Jr. will stay on the card.
Mousasi won the middleweight belt when he became the first man to knock out Rafael Carvalho at Bellator 200. A veteran of 53 professional bouts, Mousasi celebrates a finish rate of about 85% across 45 victories. Mousasi is currently riding an eight-fight win streak dating back to 2016. This marks the first time Mousasi has ever withdrawn from a fight inside a major promotion.
Lovato Jr. has never suffered a defeat in his pro career, with eight of his nine wins coming by stoppage, including six by submission. The final middleweight champion of Legacy Fighting Championship, after the promotion merged with Resurrection Fighting Alliance he signed with Bellator. Since joining Bellator in 2017, Lovato has rattled off five wins, including submissions of John Salter and Gerald Harris.
Bellator 214 is headlined by the heavyweight Grand Prix final and title fight between Fedor Emelianenko and Ryan Bader on Jan. 26, 2019 at The Forum in Inglewood, California. Also on the card will be Aaron Pico taking on Henry Corrales, and Jake Hager making his professional debut against J.W. Kiser.