With Yoel Romero Out, Anthony Johnson to Face Jose Augusto at Bellator 258

By Jay Pettry Apr 30, 2021

Bellator MMA did not need long to find a replacement for its light heavyweight tournament.

Late Thursday night, Yoel Romero was forced to withdraw from the Bellator light heavyweight grand prix after failing to clear his medicals from an eye issue. The promotion sought to replace him and keep Anthony Johnson (22-6) on Bellator 258 with the tournament still on track. After primary alternate Julius Anglickas was unable to take the match on a week’s notice, the organization called on Jose Augusto Azevedo Barros (7-2, 1 NC). This new development was reported by ESPN on Friday.

Barros made his Bellator debut at the beginning of April, when he faced Jonathan Wilson on the preliminary card of Bellator 255. The Brazilian tapped out Wilson with an arm-triangle choke in the waning seconds of the first round to move his win streak to five in a row. Barros, a former heavyweight, has finished his opponent in each of his seven wins. On the other hand, both of his losses also came by stoppage, and “Gugu” has never encountered the judges in his 10-fight career.

Johnson will be looking to make his first appearance in the promotion, and his first fight overall since 2017, at this event. Dating back to 2012, the only man to beat “Rumble” is Daniel Cormier, who did so twice at UFCs 187 and 210 in 2015 and 2017, respectively. The knockout rate of 73 percent for Johnson has carried him through a career that once went as low as welterweight. Over the years, “Rumble” has knocked out foes like Glover Teixeira, Alexander Gustafsson, Ryan Bader and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.

Bellator 258 will be held at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., on May 7. The main attraction pits bantamweight champ Juan Archuleta against Sergio Pettis, while Johnson now faces Barros in the five-round light heavyweight co-main event. Additional main card tilts include Patricky Freire vs. Peter Queally at lightweight, and Michael Page vs. Derek Anderson at welterweight.

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