It took Lavar Johnson 20 professional fights to make it into the UFC and he did not waste the opportunity, making short work of the durable Joey Beltran.
Beltran lost considerable weight in preparation for this fight, slimming down to 228 lbs.
Johnson weighed in much heavier at 252 lbs.
Fighting a losing battle on the feet, Beltran tried on multiple occasions to bring the fight to the ground, but was unable to bring the bigger man down.
Johnson was able to land almost at will throughout the whole fight and eventually put Beltran away near the end of the first round.
What we'll remember about this fight:
Johnson cornered Beltran against the cage, landed a huge right hand, and followed it up with several monstrous uppercuts.
It was a highlight-reel worthy finish and a sure contender for Knockout of the Night.
What we learned about Lavar Johnson:
He has what it takes to compete in the big leagues.
This was Johnson's first UFC fight, and he seemed very relaxed and performed well.
It's far too soon to tell if he has what it takes to be a legitimate force in the UFC's heavyweight division, but as of now, he is looking like a solid low-level gatekeeper.
What we learned about Joey Beltran:
He needs to drop down to the light heavyweight division.
Beltran is at a crossroads in his career and needs to make a big change.
Based on tonight's performance, it seems unlikely that he has what it takes to remain competitive with the giants of the heavyweight division.
What's next for Lavar Johnson:
Johnson needs to take it slow and climb the ranks. The winner of Mike Russow and John-Olav Einemo would make sense.
What's next for Joey Beltran:
Beltran is 3-4 in the UFC, so there is good chance we will not see him back again.
If he does come back, he should drop to 205 lbs. and take on a low level opponent. Cyrille Diabate and Kyle Kingsbury are possibilities.
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