Opinion: Lavar Johnson’s Downward Spiral
By Michael Hatamoto
UFC veteran Lavar Johnson was expected to make his debut at Bellator 102, smashing through Brazilian journeyman Vinicius Queiroz to set up a potential heavyweight showdown with Cheick Kongo.
Instead, Quieroz touched Johnson’s face and dropped him with a stunning one-punch knockout, thrusting himself into the Bellator mix. The fight lasted just 23 seconds and consisted of a brief feeling-out process, then Queiroz landed a hard right hand that rocked Johnson.
The fight was expected to be a slugfest between two heavyweights – and someone was going to get knocked out early, or one of the big boys would gas and likely succumb to a late TKO. It was Queiroz and his confidence that took control of the fight and shocked MMA fans that pay attention to what’s happening inside the Bellator cage.
Johnson joined Bellator after finishing 3-2 in Strikeforce and only 2-2 in the UFC – the heavy-handed fighter from American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) has shown glimmers of promise, and a move to Bellator was supposed to put him towards the top of the heavyweight division.
Considering Johnson’s previous admission that he underwent testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) and failed to inform the athletic commission, which is why he was cut from the UFC, this loss certainly doesn’t help things.
To make matters worse, Johnson has lost five of his last seven fights, and Bellator is going to have a more difficult time trying to promote him in future fights.
This is by far Queiroz’s biggest win, as the Bellator heavyweight has beaten Rob Broughton and Mark Holata – but lost by TKO against Alexander Volkov. I expect to see Queiroz get brutally finished when he meets Kongo in the future – and the winner eventually will face Bellator heavyweight champion Volkov sometime in 2014.
Stay tuned to Full Contact Fighter to learn more about the Bellator heavyweight division and what’s shaping up for 2014.