Feb 23, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Lavar Johnson (blue gloves) throws a punch at Brendan Schaub (red gloves) during their UFC heavyweight bout at the Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Lavar Johnson: ‘I don’t see this fight going past the first round’


Lavar Johnson has had quite the career since starting MMA 10 years ago. In 26 career fights, Johnson has fought in nearly all of the top level MMA promotions including the UFC, Bellator, StrikeForce, and WEC.

Johnson is set to headline Bellator 116 tomorrow night against the undefeated Blagoi Ivanov in the Heavyweight tournament semi-finals. In an exclusive interview with FanSided, Johnson broke down how he sees the fight going.

“I see me going in there and knocking him out in the first round,” Johnson said. “I am going to put on a show for the fans.”

Johnson has a penchant for knockouts, with 16 of his 18 career victories coming by way of TKO/KO.

“I see that he slows down after the first two minutes,” he said. “So I am going to be patient, stay out of the clinch, and then knock him out. I don’t see this fight going past the first round.”

Johnson is coming into this tournament semi-final off of his impressive TKO win over Ryan Martinez back at Bellator 111. That win snapped a three fight losing streak for Lavar, who said he would have likely retired if he lost that fight.

“I have always been confident. I have always had confidence in my hands,” Lavar said enthusiastically. “Going into my last fight, if I had lost, I would have probably retired. That fight was a good way to show me that I can still do this, that I can still compete with the best.”

“I have trained and sparred with some of the best guys in the world. I have fought some of the best guys in the world, and I feel good. I still feel fast at 36, and I think I can hang with the best of them. I would not continue fighting if I didn’t think I could.”

With the tournament title and a potential title shot within reach, Johnson assured me that he is focused solely on Blagoi Ivanov.

“My ultimate goal is to become the champion, but I am focused on the task at hand. First thing I have to do is beat Blagoi and I can move on from there.”

As for the Heavyweight champion, Vitaly Minakov, Johnson was trite.

“I think Minakov is a good champion, but I know I can beat him.”

Tags: Bellator Bellator 116 Blagoi Ivanov Cheick Kongo Featured Lavar Johnson MMA Popular UFC Vitaly Minakov