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.
The Bellator 232 main card will go on with five bouts.