With a little more than a week remaining before UFC 146 unfolds from Las Vegas the UFC has been forced to make a last-second change to the show, inserting heavy-handed slugger Lavar Johnson into a recently available spot against Stefan Struve formerly held by fan-favorite Mark Hunt. Though no specifics are available on his condition, Hunt was apparently injured while training for the May 26 match-up and will be out for an undetermined period of time.
News of the change was confirmed by the UFC.
“Struve is a great fighter,” said Johnson when asked about his recently announced adversary. “He’s a skilled guy with a lot of heart but I am not worried about his size. His reach is 83 inches and mine is 82, and he doesn’t use his height. He always gets the crap beat out of him, he refuses to quit, then his opponent gasses or has to let up and Struve comes back to win. I am a fan of his actually, and I’ve cheered for him because of his heart. The only way to beat him is to put him out cold. That’s what I have to do next week and I will do it.”
The fight will mark the second for Johnson in May after knockout out Pat Barry a few weeks back.
“I took one week off after the Pat Barry fight and then went back to the gym,” explained Johnson. “I used to have some drinks, gets some BBQ in my belly, and get a little out of shape right after a fight. But I feel that I am now at a level where I need to be in shape all the time, so I stayed in shape and I can now seize this chance.”
Johnson holds an overall record of 17-5 with seventeen stoppages including fifteen knockouts. Comparably, Struve is 23-5 and has finished 21 of the opponents he’s beaten.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC