Friday night on the Bellator 102 main card, the heavyweight tournament semifinals take place and the first match to go down will be Vinicius Queiroz taking on heavy handed Lavar Johnson. Both these men are great strikers, and without question this is going to be a war for the ages, that is if the gas tanks can hold up. So without any other other hold ups, here’s my breakdown for the fight.
Vinicius Queiroz, like Johnson, is a UFC veteran with an intense striking game. Of his six wins in his MMA career, Queiroz has five wins by way of knockout and one by submission. Of these two fighters, I would Queiroz is the more technical striker, training out of Team Nogueira and the Chute Box Academy with some of the best coaches.
Johnson may not be the most technical striker of these two men, but he definitely is the most effective. Of his 17 wins in MMA 15 of those have been by knockout, and two submissions, with one of those being a submission to strikes. Johnson has been able to stand with some of the best strikers in MMA and owns knockouts over Pat Barry and Joey Beltran, both earning him knockout of the night honors.
Verdict: Slight edge to Lavar Johnson due to level of competition.
Queiroz has stated that he has been working diligently on his grappling and submissions with the Nogueira brothers, and that has been seen in his submission win over Mark Holata. This may be an advantage over Johnson who has been known to have troubles with his submission defense.
Lavar Johnson is definitely not someone who wants to fight on the ground. This is pretty obvious by his record having five of his seven losses be by way of submission. Anyways, Lavar is horrible on the ground.
Verdict: Large advantage to Queiroz.
Queiroz as stated above is training with Team Nogueira and the Nogueira brothers, the biggest thing that will be a factor against Lavar will be his takedowns, though he states that he wants to knockout Johnson; everyone knows that to beat Johnson you have to submit him.
Johnson has shown glimpses of decent takedown defenses. I believe this fight will be a good challenge of his ability to keep the fight standing, this is a tough category as neither men are great grapplers. It’s really going to be a tossup on fight night.
Verdict: Slight edge to Queiroz.
On paper this may be a close fight, but when it comes down to it in the cage, Lavar Johnson will come out on top. He’s knocked out better and more impressive fighters, and I think he will do so again on Friday night. If Queiroz was knocked out by Volkov he will definitely go out when Johnson hits him.