UFC on Fox 2’s Joey Beltran “Recharged” Heading Into Fight Against Lavar Johnson
By Joshua Carey
Before Rashad Evans and Phil Davis square off at UFC on Fox 2 in Chicago’s United Center, a rejuvenated Joey Beltran returns against former Strikeforce heavyweight Lavar Johnson.
Following a knockout victory over Aaron Rosa at UFC 131, Beltran found himself drained prior to facing Stipe Miocic four months later in a bout he’d lose by decision.
Realizing the need for change in order to compete in the UFC heavyweight division, Beltran made the trek north to American Kickboxing Academy to get back on track.
“I definitely needed to recharge my batteries,” Beltran recently told Full Contact Fighter. “So, taking the little trip up to AKA and training with Daniel Cormier and Cain Velasquez, King Mo, and the whole big camp they have up there. They definitely got me repumped and excited to come back home to train again.
“I definitely wanted to step up my wrestling, Phil Davis’ fight camp was going to have a heavy wrestling influence, so we knew we had some guys coming in and on top of that we had Alex Gustafsson’s camp, where I played Vladimir Matyushenko for five-weeks. It was great and I was really excited to train again and it worked out really good.”
As the UFC on Fox card began to take shape, Beltran received the call to face Johnson and with his skillset taking shape “The Mexicutioner” felt he was prepared for a return to action.
“Top to bottom I feel like everything’s improving,” Beltran said. “Definitely working on my takedown defense as well as my wrestling takedowns getting a little bit back to what I started off. I started off wrestling in junior high and high school and that’s why I ultimately became a mixed martial artist. I definitely got away from that focusing on the striking and I’ve become known for having these great standup wars.
“With all the people that came in for Phil’s camp and on top of that I had Stipe Miocic come in for two-weeks, my last opponent and having a phenomenal wrestler like him you can’t help but to pick up some things from people like that. Also too, my striking with playing the role of Vladimir Matyushenko and having to go with a phenomenal striker like him day after day definitely helped me out. Stipe came into town and he’s a golden gloves boxer, so really honestly to sum it all up this is the best I’ve ever been. My weight is down where I need it to be to push the pace for three full rounds and I have a supreme level of confidence that I’ve not had in a long time going into Saturday night.”
Beltran and Johnson fight as part of Fox’s preliminary coverage on Fuel TV starting at 5 pm ET/ 2 pm PT.