Bellator 102's Vinicius Queiroz: I'll overshadow Cheick Kongo and Lavar Johnson


vinicius-queiroz.jpgThe four-man field in Bellator MMA’s Season 9 heavyweight tournament has two notable names with UFC vets Cheick Kongo and Lavar Johnson, but though under the radar, Vinicius Queiroz believes it’s his tourney to win.

Queiroz (6-3 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) and Johnson (17-7 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) co-headline Friday’s event, which airs on Spike TV from California’s Visalia Convention Center. The winner meets Kongo or Mark Godbeer.

Oddsmakers – overwhelmingly – believe that tourney final will include Kongo and Johnson, who make their UFC debuts after recent runs in the UFC. They’re solid and needed additions to a Bellator heavyweight division that’s traditionally been light on talent.

Queiroz, though, believes too many people are overlooking him and instead focused on the new guys.

“All four fighters in this heavyweight tournament are excellent, and all are strong strikers,” he said. “Lavar Johnson and Cheick Kongo are good fighters with bigger hips, but in Bellator, things are not so simple, and everyone will see many surprises in these fights.”

While primarily a muay Thai fighter, the 30-year-old Queiroz has worked extensively on the ground for this fight. The Nogueira brothers have helped sharpen his jiu-jitsu game, and in turn, he believes it’s made him more confident with his standup since he doesn’t fear getting taken down. He believes that could spell disaster for fellow slugger Johnson.

“If you want to see a violent fight with a knockout or high-kick knockout, then do not blink,” he said. “So you must go to the bathroom before the fight starts, grab your beer before the fight starts, and your popcorn before the fight starts – because, if you forget this, my friends, you will only be able to see the replay.”

Johnson, who fought five times for Strikeforce before his four-bout UFC stint, was cut after back-to-back losses in the octagon. However, his past nine wins have all come via knockout, and with his obvious punching power, it’s tough to look away from his fights. In a split second, the 36-year-old Californian can change the course of a fight – or end it.

“Lavar Johnson is a big monster,” Queiroz said. “He punches very hard and has good technique of blows. It’s the kind of fight that I really like because [it'll be a] struggle, and that’s what I want. I respect him, and winning will be a great achievement for my career. I consider him, without a doubt, a top fighter.

“However, I believe he does not have good defense of punches and fighting on the ground. I think he does not appreciate those aspects. I think I’m a better boxer. The fight will be decided when one of us is able to connect the first punch clean.”

In addition to claiming a signature career win (or two) and a tournament title, Queiroz has further motivation: revenge. His Season 7 tournament run came to an end with a semifinal-round TKO loss to Alexander Volkov, who later claimed the vacant title.

To get a chance to avenge the loss and win the belt, he must first get by Johnson.

“I’m (feeling) very well for this fight,” Queiroz said. “It’s my chance to finally win the tournament and then get my revenge against the champion, Alexander Volkov. My [plan is to] win by knockout.

For more on Bellator 102, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of the site.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

  • 5 days ago
  • 2 views

Former Bellator MMA light heavyweight contender Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal will move up to heavyweight for a bout with Cheick Kongo at Bellator 134. read news >>

  • 5 days ago
  • 5 views

Bellator President Scott Coker made the announcement of what he called a “superfight” for Bellator 134. It will be “King Mo” Lawal vs. Cheick Kongo at heavyweight.Filed under: Bellator, MMA Rumors, N read news >>

  • a day ago
  • 10 views

Former Bellator MMA heavyweight tournament finalist Blagoi Ivanov has signed with WSOF.Filed under: News, WSOF read news >>

  • 19 days ago
  • 0 views

With its 2014 in the rearview mirror, Bellator MMA returns next week for its first event of the new year. Take a look back at its best submissions of 2014. Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos read news >>

  • 13 days ago
  • 5 views

LAS VEGAS – NSAC officials today suspended onetime Bellator MMA heavyweight James Wilson and onetime WSOF lightweight Bryson Gutches each nine months for separate failed drug tests.Filed under: News read news >>

  • 12 days ago
  • 2 views

Although Bellator MMA did away with its tournament format last year, Bubba Jenkins still remains focused on the concept of “advancing.” read news >>

  • 9 days ago
  • 11 views

Heavyweight fighter Kevin Ferguson – better known as “Kimbo Slice” to many veteran fight fans – is slated for a return to the cage, this time with Bellator MMA.Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News read news >>

  • 5 days ago
  • 6 views

Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Muhammed Lawal, more affectionately known as 'King' Mo, once pledged to compete at 'moneyweight'. As 2015 rolls around, the Bellator light heavyweight now has read news >>

  • 5 days ago
  • 14 views

Out of the UFC for more than three years, MMA legend Mirko Filipovic is on his way back to the promotion.Filed under: Bellator, Featured, MMA Rumors, News, UFC read news >>