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Jay Silva Replaces Paulo Filho Against Hector Lombard at Bellator 18

Paulo Filho has been forced out of Thursday's non-title middleweight "super fight" against Hector Lombard, MMA Fighting has confirmed with Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney.

As a result, former UFC fighter Jay Silva (5-3) will step in on short notice to face Lombard (23-2) at Bellator 18 in Monroe, La. The event will air live on FOX Sports Net.'s Josh Gross first reported the news on Monday.

As MMA Fighting reported last week, Silva was scheduled to fight Bill Albrecht in the opening bout of the telecast. No word on who will now replace him in that fight.

Rebney would not explain why Filho was forced off the card. Reports last week indicated that Filho was having a hard time getting a U.S. visa, but Rebney told MMA Junkie late last week that Filho's issues had been resolved.

However, Filho told that the organization didn't file his paperwork in a timely manner:
"It seems the event took too long in sending out the letter I needed to present at the consulate and I'm not sure but it could be there was some kind of failure on the part of my managers. So, I won't get my visa in time. I'm really upset because I've been training a lot. I did everything just right; I don't know what to say.

"It got me down, but I'm not going to stop training. Something good will turn up."
Since defeating Chael Sonnen in December 2007, Filho has pulled out of several fights to due issues related to substance abuse and depression.

Lombard, the Bellator middleweight champion, is unbeaten in his last 18 fights, while Silva was recently released from the UFC after losing two straight to C.B. Dolloway and Chris Leben.

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