Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard has had to switch from one Brazilian fighter to another for Thursday’s Bellator 18 in Monroe, La. Former WEC middleweight champion Paulo Filho has had to withdraw and will be replaced by fellow Brazilian Jay Silva.
The news was first reported by Sports Illustrated’s Josh Gross.
Filho told Gracia Magazine, “”It seems the event took too long in sending out the letter I needed to present at the consulate and I’m not sure but it could be there was some kind of failure on the part of my managers. So, I won’t get my visa in time.”
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney declined to explain to AOL’s Ariel Helwani the circumstances surrounding Filho’s absence.
Silva is a 5-3 fighter who is coming off of back-to-back losses in the UFC. He was scheduled to fight on an earlier bout on the card, but accepted the move up to the main event, non-title affair with Lombard.