The Bellator middleweight championship won’t be on the line in January.
Gegard Mousasi was scheduled to defend his crown against undefeated Rafael Lovato Jr. in the co-main event of Bellator 214 in Inglewood, Calif., but was forced out of the contest due to a back injury, sources confirmed to MMA Fighting following a report by ESPN.
Mousasi (45-6-2) won the 185-pound title in May, finishing Rafael Carvalho in less than four minutes, and successfully defended it for the first time four months later, stopping welterweight champion Rory MacDonald in the second round.
Lovato (9-0), a former Legacy FC middleweight titleholder, earned a shot at the gold after winning five in a row under the Bellator banner, including four stoppages. It’s still unclear if Lovato will face another opponent on the Jan. 26 card.
Bellator 214 takes place at The Forum in Inglewood and features Fedor Emelianenko vs. Ryan Bader for the heavyweight championship in the main event.