Switch of Minakov’s Opponent at Bellator 225

UPDATE: MMA Fighting reports that Ayala’s pulling from tonight’s Bellator 225 co-main event is the result of a failed pre-fight physical.

Bellator MMA has announced a last-minute switch-up to the Bellator 225 card tonight, as Tim Johnson will be stepping in for Javy Ayala to take on Vitaly Minakov in the co-main event.

It is unclear why Ayala has been forced off tonight’s card, but Bellator tells MMA Fighting was removed “on the advice of the Connecticut Boxing Commission.”

Johnson was originally scheduled to compete on the preliminary card against Azunna Anyanwu. Johnson went 4-3 in the UFC between 2015 and 2018, scoring a win over Marcin Tybura while also competing against the likes of Jared Rosholt, Alexander Volkov and Junior Albini. Johnson signed with Bellator in April 2018 and made his debut at Bellator 208 in October, getting knocked out by Cheick Kongo in 68 seconds.

It is unclear if Anyanwu will be compensated for his canceled fight, but both he (through social media) and Bellator say a new fight for him is being worked on.

Tonight’s card will mark the second fight in Minakov’s return to Bellator. He lost to Kongo by decision at Bellator 216, marking his first fight in Bellator in three years and the first loss of his professional career. Minakov won the Bellator heavyweight title from Volkov at Bellator 118 and successfully defended it against Kongo before departing the promotion, finally getting stripped of the belt in May 2016.

Original Story: MMA Fighting

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