Rafael Lovato Jr. will still have his biggest MMA test to date against a crafty veteran on Saturday night. But it will be against a different foe than originally planned.
Lovato will face Gerald Harris at Bellator 198 at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., in a 188-pound catchweight matchup. Harris steps in for John Salter, who withdrew from their planned middleweight bout due to undisclosed reasons.
MMA Fighting confirmed an initial Tuesday report by MMA Junkie.
Lovato (7-0), a former World Jiu-Jitsu Championships gold medalist, is 4-0 in Bellator with his most recent win a decision over Chris Honeycutt at Bellator 189. Lovato has four career submissions and two knockouts to his credit.
Harris (25-5), meanwhile, comes out of a retirement he announced following a knockout slam win over Matt McKeon in his hometown of Tulsa in October. Harris, a veteran of the UFC, WSOF, IFL, Dream, and LFA, has won four bouts in a row and eight of his past nine.