Two-time UFC fighter Jay Silva will replace former WEC middleweight champ Paulo Filho in a non-title ‘super fight’ with Bellator middleweight champ Hector Lombard scheduled for Thursday’s Bellator 18 event in Monroe, Louisiana, the promotion today confirmed.
Filho announced on Friday that visa issues would prevent him from facing Lombard at the Fox Sports Net-televised event, which also features the semifinals of Bellator’s featherweight tournament, but Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney told MMAjunkie that the matchup was still on.
Despite struggling with depression and substance abuse after winning the WEC title in 2007, Filho has rebounded from a November 2008 loss to Chael Sonnen with three-straight wins over Melvin Manhoef, Alex Schoenauer, and most-recently Tatsuhiko Nishizaka in December.
Silva (5-3) hasn’t fought since dropping back-to-back UFC bouts to CB Dollaway in September and Chris Leben in January, while Lombard (25-2-1) is unbeaten in 18-straight fights, including three-straight victories since claiming the Bellator title last summer.
Pictured: Jay Silva