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Matt Mitrione to replace Josh Barnett at Bellator 241, will face Ronny Markes

Matt Mitrione (pictured) will replace former UFC champion Josh Barnett against Ronny Markes.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Ronny Markes has a new opponent for his Bellator debut on March 13.

The Brazilian heavyweight, originally slated to face former UFC champion Josh Barnett, will now take on Matt Mitrione, who steps in on days’ notice, on the main card for Bellator 241 in Uncasville, Conn.

Barnett was ruled out of the contest by the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulations after failing a medical requirement according to director Mike Mazzulli in a statement provided to MMA Fighting.

“Mr. Barnett has failed a medical requirement by the Mohegan Tribe Dept of Athletic Reg and will not be fighting on the March 13 Bellator event,” Mazzulli wrote. “He will not be allowed to fight till he resolves the failed test.”

Barnett’s management and Bellator didn’t return multiple requests for comment.

Mitrione (13-7, 1 no-contest) racked up a four-fight winning streak in Bellator, including a 74-second knockout over Fedor Emelianenko and a decision win versus Roy Nelson, before losing a grand prix bout to Ryan Bader and getting finished by Sergei Kharitonov.

Markes (19-7) last fought in June 2019, stopping Sigi Pesaleli in his last appearance under the PFL banner. Markes went 3-2 as a UFC fighter between 2011 and 2014, defeating Karlos Vemola, Aaron Simpson and Andrew Craig prior to losses to Yoel Romero and Thiago Santos.

Headlined by featherweight champion Patricio Freire and challenger Pedro Carvalho, Bellator 241 will take place at the Mohegan Sun Arena. The last 145-pound tournament quarterfinal between Daniel Weichel and Emmanuel Sanchez goes down in the co-main event.

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