Saturday’s Bellator 225 card has undergone a last-minute change.
Tim Johnson has filled in for Javy Ayala and will now meet former Bellator heavyweight champion Vitaly Minakov in the co-main event of the card, which takes place in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Bellator officials announced the switch Saturday morning after an initial report from MMA journalist David McGrath.
Ayala was pulled from the card following medical tests conducted by the Connecticut Boxing Commission, which is overseeing the event, a Bellator official told Bloody Elbow.
Johnson, a former UFC heavyweight, was originally scheduled to meet Azunna Anyanwu on the preliminary card. As a result of the change, Anyanwu is off the card.
Johnson made his Bellator debut last year and lost to Cheick Kongo by first-round TKO. He signed with the promotion following a 4-3 run in the UFC. Johnson, who trains in Las Vegas at Xtreme Couture, has alternated wins and losses in his past eight bouts.
Minakov suffered his first pro loss in his last bout, dropping a unanimous decision to Kongo in February. He had won 21 fights in a row before falling short for the first time. The Kongo rematch was Minakov’s first fight in Bellator since 2014; he had a seven-fight run in Fight Nights Global. Some of the ex-champ’s most notable wins include Alexander Volkov, Kongo, Antonio Silva, and Josh Copeland.