Saturday night’s Bellator 232 has taken a hit after former heavyweight champion Vitaly Minakov was forced to withdraw from a clash with Javy Ayala due to visa issues, a promotion official told MMA Fighting following a report by TASS.
The matchup was expected for the main card portion of Saturday’s show at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Due to the short notice, Ayala will not get a new opponent, the official said.
Minakov vs. Ayala was originally scheduled for Aug. 24, but Ayala withdrew at the eleventh hour. Minakov fought UFC veteran Timothy Johnson instead, knocking him out in less than two minutes.
Minakov (22-1) is 1-1 since returning to Bellator earlier this year, bouncing from a decision defeat against Cheick Kongo to his knockout of Johnson. In his first run for the promotion, the Russian heavyweight went 5-0 with wins over the likes of Kongo and Alexander Volkov.
Ayala (11-7) has fought inside the company’s circular cage since 2013, scoring finishes against big-name opponents like Frank Mir and Sergei Kharitonov.
Bellator 232 is set to air live on DAZN and feature welterweight tournament grand prix final between 170-pound champion Rory MacDonald and former titleholder Douglas Lima in a five-round rematch.
The Bellator 232 main card will go on with five bouts.
Rory MacDonald vs. Douglas Lima
Paul Daley vs. Saad Awad
Patrick Mix vs. Isaiah Chapman
Nick Newell vs. Manny Muro
Robin Van Roosmalen vs. Cris Lencioni
Marcus Surin vs. Devin Powell
Zarrukh Adashev vs. Tevin Dyce
Tom Connolly vs. Ryan Evans
Lance Gibson vs. Dominic Jones
John Douma vs. Jornel Lugo
John Lopez vs. Dan Cormier