The Strikeforce exodus has begun.
Less than a week after UFC President Dana White announced the impending dissolution of the Strikeforce heavyweight division, Strikeforce Challengers regular Lavar Johnson has signed with the UFC and is scheduled to debut against Joey Beltran at UFC on Fox 2. Zuffa officials confirmed the match-up on Tuesday.
Johnson (15-5), a former linebacker known for a phenomenal recovery from a 2009 shooting incident, heads into the big show mired in a two-fight losing streak after dropping bouts to Shawn Jordan and Shane del Rosario. Prior to the slump, the 34-year-old rocketed through a seven-fight win streak, all by way of knockout. Johnson has yet to fight to a decision in twenty professional contests.
Beltran (13-6), meanwhile, stumbles into the event having dropped three out of his last four fights, capped by a decision loss to Stipe Miocic in October. A 30-year-old knockout artist, "The Mexicutioner" is renown for his durable chin and hard-fought victories over Tim Hague, Rolles Gracie Jr., and Houston Alexander.
UFC on Fox 2 is slated for January 28, 2012 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. Three high-profile contender matches headline the network broadcast -- Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis, Mark Munoz vs. Chael Sonnen, and Michael Bisping vs. Demian Maia.
UFC on Fox 2 fight card:
Light heavyweight: Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis
Middleweight: Chael Sonnen vs. Mark Munoz
Middleweight: Michael Bisping vs. Demian Maia
Bantamweight: Eddie Wineland vs. Johnny Bedford
Lightweight: Evan Dunham vs. Paul Sass
Heavyweight: John Olav Einemo vs. Mike Russow
Lightweight: Cody McKenzie vs. Michael Johnson
Featherweight: George Roop vs. Cub Swanson
Featherweight: Charles Oliveira vs. Eric Wisely
Middleweight: Chris Camozzi vs. Dustin Jacoby
Heavyweight: Lavar Johnson vs. Joey Beltran