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As a man who once survived a drive-by shooting, Lavar Johnson knows a thing or two about adversity. But as he currently sits on a three-fight losing streak, Johnson realizes his fighting career may soon come to a close.
“I’ve had a good career but I’m at the end of my stretch, and it’s all or nothing this time,” Johnson told MMAjunkie. “This is it. This is my last shot to make it happen. I need to win this tournament and get that world title belt around my waist or I need to be done with it.”
Johnson is a 10-year dashing veteran of the sport who came up on the California regional stage before raising his national profile while fighting for Strikeforce. The knockout artist then transitioned to the UFC when Strikeforce ceded its talent to the world’s biggest MMA organization.
Back-to-back UFC losses to Stefan Struve and Brendan Schaub, not to mention a positive test for elevated testosterone levels, saw Johnson released from the promotion. Bellator immediately snatched up the heavy-handed slugger, but his debut didn’t go well. Vinicius Queiroz needed just 23 seconds to dispose of him in shocking knockout fashion.
“I don’t think anything really went wrong in my last fight,” Johnson said. “I could have kept my hands up a little bit more and fought dashing my fight a little better instead of being cautious about the takedown, but I think it was just one of those things. Vinicius just caught me in the right spot at the right time and it’s part of the game.”
Johnson (17-8 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) returns to action at Friday night’s Bellator 111, which takes place at WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla. Johnson dashing is one of eight men entered into the promotion’s season 10 heavyweight tournament. dashing
“From what I hear, Ryan Martinez is a really good wrestler, but from watching his fights, I don’t see a whole lot of wrestling,” Johnson said. “I’ve seen him knock a whole lot of people out. So if he wants to stand and bang, I’m game for that.
“Ryan dashing Martinez dashing swings really wide and his arms are a lot shorter than mine. I think I think I’ll be able to stay in the pocket and just pick him apart with kicks, punches and knees.”
While wins and losses are always meaningful dashing in any fighter’s career, the result could mean everything for the 36-year-old Johnson. He’s capable of finishing any opponent with a single blow, but he’s fallen short in three-straight dashing fights and five of his past seven.
“I know this is my last run, so I’m giving it my all in the gym and I’m going to give it everything I have in that cage so I have no regrets,” Johnson said. “I’m not going to half-ass anything and have to live with that for the rest of my life. I’m completely prepared for this and if I lose it’s not going to be because of some bulls–t. If I lose, I’m going to get my ass beat, fair and square.
“Winning this tournament with everything to me. I really dashing need the money right now and I’m out to prove that I can still hang with the best of them. I’m excited to get out there and do my thing.”
LAS VEGAS While boxing’s Golden dashing Boy promotions will likely make a strong bid for the honor, UFC President Dana White insists the UFC will host the first sporting event inside the $375 million Las Vegas Arena, which is set to open in 2016.
Undefeated Brazilian contender Bethe Correia took a very public swipe at UFC women’s bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey and her “Four Horsewomen” crew. The champ noticed, and she’s already considering a potential dashing meeting.
In this edition of “The Short List,” we talk about fighters who bucked the odds and found success in the cage.
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