With four losses in his last six fights, Bellator heavyweight Lavar “Big” Johnson is not so much concerned with his past, but more so the present and using his opportunity in a new promotion to his advantage.
“For me, every fight is a fresh start,” he said. “I don’t look in the past or look to the future; I take it one fight at a time. This is an opportunity to be recognized by the world again and I’m taking it.”
With two losses in a row, Johnson went back to the drawing board and feels he’s made the small refinements necessary to help him get back on track.
“I’ve been working on a lot of jiu-jitsu and a lot of wrestling,” said Johnson.
“It’s the small things, the little movements; the slight steps that I needed to take in jiu-jitsu to getting up, getting hips out and stuff like that. It’s just minor things that we’ve worked on, and I think I should be able to avoid submissions, get up if I’m on the ground and get it to the feet where I’m most dangerous.”
On Friday night, Johnson (17-7) will be making his promotional debut at Bellator 102 as part of this season’s heavyweight tournament against Vinicius Kappke De Queiroz in what could be a classic striker versus grappler match-up.
“I think he’s a great fighter,” said Johnson of Kappke de Queiroz. “He’s a Nogueira brown belt, so his jiu-jitsu is good and he has good energy and cardio, and brings it. I’m looking forward to keeping it standing and trying to put him to sleep.
“I feel I’m going to be stronger and faster than him, and I don’t think he’s been hit any harder than he’ll be hit by me – that’s my advantage. His advantage will probably be his jiu-jitsu. We’ll get in the cage, mix it up, and see what happens.”
Coming up on 10 years fighting next year, Johnson told MMAWeekly.com that winning this tournament and taking the Bellator heavyweight title would a great way to kick off his anniversary.
“That would be just icing on the cake,” he said. “I’m pretty much happy already with my career and where it’s gotten me.
“I’d like to make a little more money so I can get a gym and pay off the house and at least get that done these years, and adding the belt would just be awesome.”