Strikeforce’s ‘Big’ Johnson Joins UFC, Faces Beltran at UFC on Fox 2

By Mike Whitman Dec 21, 2011
UFC officials recently announced that Lavar Johnson will make his Octagon debut on Jan. 28, when the Strikeforce alum will square off against durable veteran Joey Beltran at UFC on Fox 2.

The heavyweight matchup joins a developing fight bill for the UFC’s second appearance on Fox’s flagship network, the first of four live showings planned for 2012. Headlined by a pivotal light heavyweight contest pitting Rashad Evans against Phil Davis, the event marks the promotion’s first trip to the United Center in Chicago.

Known for his heavy hands, Johnson made six appearances in the pre-Zuffa World Extreme Cagefighting. The Californian signed with Strikeforce in 2009, winning his promotional debut in just 18 seconds.

On July 4, 2009, Johnson was shot and hospitalized. He returned to the cage in March 2010 and rattled off a pair of victories to close out the year. However, 2011 has been less successful for Johnson, as the 34-year-old was beaten by Shane del Rosario and Shawn Jordan.

Beltran (Pictured) is widely regarded as one of the gamest competitors in all of MMA. While the heavyweight brawler has lost three of his last four fights, he has not made it easy on his opponents, going the distance in all three losses.

“The Mexicutioner” fought three times in 2011, falling to Pat Barry before rebounding with a victory over Aaron Rosa in June. Most recently, the 30-year-old was bested by rising prospect Stipe Miocic at UFC 136 on Oct. 8.

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