Brett Johns has a new opponent for his Bellator debut.
The former UFC bantamweight standout is now set to fight Daniel Sabatello (10-1) at Bellator 259 on May 21, with Sabatello stepping in as a short-notice replacement for originally scheduled opponent Matheus Mattos. Bellator announced the change to the preliminary card Thursday.
MMA Fighting confirmed with Mattos that the Brazilian fighter was forced to withdraw due to a positive COVID-19 test. Mattos’ withdrawal was first reported by MMA Junkie.
Sources tell MMA Fighting that Sabatello has signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator.
Johns (17-2) parted ways with the UFC in 2020 on a two-fight win streak. The Welsh submission specialist went 5-2 in the UFC and he makes his Bellator debut coming off of back-to-back wins against Montel Jackson and Tony Gravely.
Sabatello most recently competed for Titan FC, but is perhaps best known for his appearance last November on Dana White’s Contender Series. The American Top Team product won a lopsided decision over Taylor Moore, but was not rewarded with a UFC contract. He has won four straight fights.
Bellator 258 takes place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., and the main card will air on Showtime. Featherweight champion Cris Cyborg goes for the second defense of her title in a rematch against Leslie Smith in the evening’s main event.