Tom Lawlor makes his long-awaited Professional Fighters League debut this Thursday at PFL 2.
Lawlor, a former UFC fighter and pro wrestler, was originally scheduled to fight Jordan Johnson. However, Johnson withdrew, prompting an opponent change for Lawlor’s first fight since 2018.
Instead of Johnson, “Filthy” now takes on Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3 winner and former UFC top 15 ranked middleweight Antonio Carlos Junior.
“People say it’s a short notice opponent change, from Jordan Johnson, who I was set to face, but Antonio Carlos Junior isn’t someone coming off the shelf; he has been active the past year,” Lawlor said during PFL 2 media day this week, speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press. “He’s a phenomenal jiu-jitsu competitor; he is a phenomenal ground fighter, he is very, very tough to finish. I think he has only been finished once in his career, which unfortunately means I may have to fight 15 minutes, which sucks. But I’m more than prepared to do so.”
Lawlor mentioned that both he and Carlos Junior fought at heavyweight in their careers as well as middleweight, and now they are at light heavyweight.
“He’s fought as high as heavyweight, he won TUF: Brazil as a heavyweight, but then he moved his way down and was fighting at 205, 185. You know, my first fight in 2003 was at heavyweight, then I was fighting at 205, then I was at 185, now we both meet back here at 205,” Lawlor said.
Lawlor knows that Carlos Junior is a wizard on the ground, and he made it clear, he doesn’t plan on going there.
“If you look at it from the outside, it’s clear to see what the game plan should be, on my end. Like I said, he was a world champion in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, so I don’t think I’m giving away any secrets here. I hope he hears this, I hope he sees this, I hope he reads this, I don’t plan on going to the ground with him. I plan on getting six points before it even gets there,” Lawlor said.
Watch the full PFL 2 2021 media day interview with Tom Lawlor above. The event takes place this Thursday, April 29, airing live on ESPN 2/ESPN+.