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Fedor Emelianenko vs Matt Mitrione main event bout at Bellator 172 canceled

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

According to a press release, Matt Mitrione has been forced out of his main event bout opposite Fedor Emelianenko later tonight (Sat., Feb. 18, 2017) at Bellator 172 live on Spike TV from San Jose, Calif., due to an illness. Bellator MMA attempted to find a late replacement for Mitrione to keep Emelianenko on the card, but was unable to do so just hours before the event.

Here is the official statement:

Due to illness, Matt Mitrione (11-5) is unable to compete at Bellator 172 and as a result, his highly-anticipated matchup with Fedor Emelianenko (36-4, 1 NC) has been scratched from tonight's event. Bellator officials will look to reschedule the fight at a later date.

This is incredible news on a night that was supposed to mark one of the promotion's biggest events of 2017. Emelianenko was expected to compete on United States soil for the first time since 2011 and make his long-awaited Bellator debut. The release also states that the California State Athletic Commission is allowing fans to get a full refund for their tickets if they file a request prior to the event's official start time.

As a result of Mitrione's withdrawal, the Lightweight bout between Josh Thomson and Patricky Freire will now serve as the main event of the evening.

Bellator 172 will start tonight at 9 p.m. ET. MMAmania.com will be here all night long to deliver LIVE results and play-by-play starting with the "Prelims" undercard bouts tonight at 7 p.m. ET.