With Anthony “Rumble” Johnson forced out of the light heavyweight grand prix due to an undisclosed illness, Julius Anglickas has been tapped to step into the Bellator 268 main event in his place.
He’ll fight 205lb champion Vadim Nemkov in one of two grand prix semifinals booked for the card.
The promotion announced the news during Saturday’s Bellator 266 broadcast. Word of Rumble exiting the fight first broke earlier in the day, with the light heavyweight later stating that he was “afraid” of the affliction, which he clarified was not COVID-19.
“Never been this afraid of anything in my life but I’ve remained strong with the support of friends and family,” Johnson wrote on social media.
While Johnson focuses on recovery, Anglickas (10-1) now has his sights set on the light heavyweight title. The 30-year old is a 2019 Contender Series winner who joined Bellator that same year after being denied a UFC contract on the show, despite picking up a win.
He currently sits on a six-fight win streak, with three of those wins coming in the Bellator MMA cage. Most recently, Anglickas defeated Gregory Milliard via unanimous decision.
Anglickas had been expected to face Karl Albrektsson in what amounted to a tournament alternate bout on the Bellator 268 card. While Albrektsson has history with Nemkov and holds a win over both the champ and his brother, Julius Anglickas is ranked #5 in the weight class. The only fighters ahead of him are Rumble, Corey Anderson, Ryan Bader, and Phil Davis. Anderson and Bader will face off in the co-main event (and other grand prix semifinal) of the October card, while Nemkov beat Davis for the second time in the quarterfinal round of the light heavyweight grand prix.
Bellator 268 takes place October 16, 2021 at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. The main card airs live on Showtime in the U.S.