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LFA 122 Main Event Preview and Breakdown: LFA Flyweight Championship: Johnson vs. Mota

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A big weekend in MMA kicks off this Friday night as St. Louis’ The Factory at The District plays host to the second LFA event in as many weeks, LFA 122.

Barring anything unforeseen, LFA 122 will feature a full 12-fight card to kick off your weekend of fights this Friday, highlighted by a battle for supremacy at 125 lbs. in the LFA 122 main event.

LFA Flyweight Championship at Stake in LFA 122 Main Event on Friday Night

The headlining bout will find incumbent interim champion Charles Johnson (10-2 MMA, 5-1 LFA) battling undefeated Carlos Mota (6-0 MMA, 2-0 LFA) for the LFA Flyweight Championship on Friday night– a five-round fight at five minutes per round to close the proceedings in St. Louis.

LFA 122 Main Event Fighter Comparison

Entering the LFA 122 main event on Friday evening, champion Charles Johnson is the taller contender, standing 5-foot-9, compared to challenger Carlos Mota’s 5-foot-6 frame. Additionally, the champion owns a one-inch reach advantage (70 1/2 inches to 69 1/2 inches) over the challenger going into the LFA 122 main event this Friday.

Champion Charles Johnson comes into the LFA 122 main event on Friday night having posted a record of 4-1 in his last five MMA appearances, including an ongoing three-match winning streak.

On Aug. 27, he successfully made his first defense as the LFA Interim Flyweight Champion by way of second-round knockout due to punches versus Joao Camilo in the LFA 114 co-main event of the evening, less than two months after gaining the 125-lb. belt against Yuma Horiuchi in the LFA 110 co-headliner.

In the aftermath of the August victory, the champion spoke to MyMMANews about his plans for the future, including a potential switch to the UFC.

“Yes. for sure,” Johnson said. “I’ve just got to be patient, train, and stay ready (for a potential call-up to the UFC.) It could be as early as this week or next week. Short-notice fights happen all the time, so I know I’m on the short short-list now.”

While Charles Johnson will enter the LFA 122 main event on the heels of a layoff of close to five months, a victory here could be the key victory that might result in a telephone call from Dana White and a UFC contract.

In the other corner, Carlos Mota has yet to lose so far in his MMA career, having posted a 9-0 record dating back to his days on the amateur circuit. Most recently, he fought to the distance against Jefferson Oliveira, scoring a unanimous decision on July 18 during LFA 112, a catchweight fight at 139 lbs.

That night was his first bout in almost two years, and Mota, like so many other fighters in the sport of MMA over the last couple of years, had to contend with COVID-19, as he explained to The Scrap back in September.

“I stayed at home for 21 days before preparing for the fight, I did,” Mota said. “My last fight was much more difficult for me. I got COVID-19 and went on a diet to fight. I prepared myself. I had to lose weight twice, and I fought in two categories (weight) above mine. I believed that hindered me.”

Now back in the familiar confines of the flyweight ranks, can he keep his recent form going and steal the championship away from Charles Johnson in the LFA 122 main event this Friday night?

Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction

Stylistically, the LFA 122 main event looks to be a toss-up, as both Charles Johnson and Carlos Mota are well-rounded in their acumen, with both men subscribing to jiu-jitsu and Muay-Thai.

Johnson, should, however, have the upper hand, as he also practices BJJ and wrestling, in addition to being a part-time boxer.

Look For Carlos Mota’s Body Kicks in LFA 122 Main Event on Friday Night

If Carlos Mota is to successfully end the run of Charles Johnson as 125-lb. championship in the LFA 122 main event on Friday night, his body kicks may potentially play a role, something that George Martinez painfully found out in the LFA promotional debut for both men during LFA 79.

Right from the opening bell that night, Carlos Mota was on a mission to seek and destroy, scoring with counter shots before quickly ending things with a well-timed and perfectly-placed kick to his opponent’s body, sending Martinez down in a heap as he winced in pain.

Mota then followed the body kick up with a few now-unneeded ground and pound shots as he had already done enough damage from the kick to score the first-round TKO.

If Carlos Mota can successfully land a body kick, it could be lights out for Charles Johnson and the clock could hit midnight on his championship run in the LFA 122 main event.

Watch for Charles Johnson to Reverse Carlos Mota and Set Up Ground and Pound

In the other corner, Charles Johnson’s key to scoring the victory in the LFA 122 main event on Friday night will be his takedown reversal game as a means of setting up ground and pound shots, as Joao Camilo found out back in August.

During the second round of a scheduled five, Charles Johnson was able to anticipate a Camilo takedown and smartly reversed it, taking control of the fight from there, starting out with a sprawl, transitioning to the back mount and eventually dragging him across the cage to get to the top mount and land some ground and pound shots as a means of softening Camilo up to try to lock in a submission attempt.

Johnson was able to score with elbow shots and eventually transitioned to the back mount to land shots to Camilo’s head, getting up briefly to land a knee strike to Camilo’s ribs before finally knocking Camilo out with relentless hammerfists, with the referee intervening late in the second round.

All it will take for Charles Johnson to win the LFA 122 main event on Friday night is as little as one reversed Carlos Mota takedown.

Final Thoughts

At the core, the LFA 122 main event promises competitive violence of the highest order this coming Friday night, and it’ll be a fight worth logging onto UFC Fight Pass to see.

If you miss the fight on Friday, you won’t know what people are talking about on Saturday.

Prediction: Charles Johnson by Unanimous Decision.


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