Vitaly Minakov continues his quest to regain the Bellator heavyweight championship when he squares off with Javy Ayala at Bellator 232 on Oct. 26, 2019. Bellator officials confirmed the match-up to MMAWeekly.com on Monday.
Minakov and Ayala were originally slated to meet at Bellator 225, but Ayala was pulled from the fight for undisclosed reasons on the day of the fight. He was replaced by Timothy Johnson, whom Minakov knocked out.
Minakov (22-1) became the Bellator heavyweight champion in 2013 and defended the belt once in 2014 before vacating the belt to fight in his home country of Russia. He lost to Cheick Kongo in his Bellator return earlier this year, but then defeated Johnson. He hopes to add Ayala to his hit list and make a run at the title currently held by Ryan Bader.
Ayala (11-7) is coming off of a victory over former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir late last year. He is 3-4 in his last seven bouts, looking for a big win over Minakov to try and build some momentum toward the top of the division.
Bellator 232 takes place on Oct. 26 at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn.