Heavyweights meet at United Center on Jan. 28
Just a few days after the announcement that Strikeforce would dissolve its heavyweight division in 2012, the first official crossover has taken place.
Strikeforce heavyweight Lavar Johnson will move to the UFC and will fight Joey Beltran at UFC on Fox: Evans vs. Davis next month in Chicago. The UFC made the announcement Tuesday night on its official Twitter feed.
Johnson (15-5, 3-2 Strikeforce) has lost two straight bouts after starting his Strikeforce career 3-0. In February, he was submitted by Shane del Rosario, ending a seven-fight winning streak. And in September, he was submitted by Shawn Jordan in a Challengers series event. The California-based fighter, who trains at the American Kickboxing Academy, survived multiple gunshot wounds in July 2009, just a couple months after winning his Strikeforce debut, and returned to the cage eight months later.
Beltran (13-6, 3-3 UFC) has lost three of his last four fights – all by decision. At UFC 136 in October, Beltran lost a unanimous decision to the debuting Stipe Miocic. After starting his UFC career 2-0, he lost back-to-back fights to Matt Mitrione – a Fight of the Night winner at UFC 119 – and Pat Barry before rebounding for a TKO victory over Aaron Rosa at UFC 131 in June.
The Beltran-Johnson fight will be part of the preliminary card at the UFC’s second card on Fox, which takes place Jan. 28 at the United Center in Chicago. The card has a “tripleheader” for the Fox broadcast featuring a light heavyweight contenders fight between Rashad Evans and Phil Davis, a middleweight contenders bout between Chael Sonnen and Mark Munoz and a middleweight bout between Michael Bisping and Demian Maia. The prelims are scheduled to air live on the FX cable station.