Former U.S. Army Ranger Joe Duarte will be stepping in for Janne Tulirintaand to take on Carey Vanier at Bellator Fighting Championships' Season 2 lightweight tournament from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on April 8.
Tulirintaand was forced to withdraw from Thursday's event due to Visa issues.
From Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney:
"We are disappointed that Janne Tulirinta won't be able to participate in our tournament but are very fortunate that we were able to secure a very high-caliber fighter like Joe Duarte to step up so quickly. Joe's known for his standup game so his bout against Carey Vanier, a very talented wrestler, will be an interesting one. Joe was our first alternate at 155, and his opportunity came and he was ready. More importantly than any of that, Joe is an American hero who regularly put his life on the line while serving as an Army Ranger in Iraq. I am proud to welcome him to our organization."
Duarte, 26, is 5-1 in his mixed martial career and hasn't competed since a TKO victory over David Gardner at last year's War Gods event in Alpine, California.
He meets the 7-2 Vanier, who is the winner of six straight including a TKO win over Paul Mann at Shogun Fights I in Baltimore, Maryland last October.
For more on the Bellator Season 2 Tournament click here.