Lawrence Making Impact on ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ - The Missourian: Sports

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Lawrence Making Impact on ‘The Ultimate Fighter’

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Posted: Friday, May 11, 2012 8:00 pm

Justin Lawrence has quickly and impressively made a name for himself in the world of mixed martial arts.

As the breakthrough competitor on the television show, “The Ultimate Fighter,” which airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on the FX network, Lawrence has opened many eyes in the industry.

A Pacific High School graduate, Lawrence has been dominant on the show so far, going from a relative unknown fighter to one of the heavy favorites to win and receive a UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) contract.

Lawrence, who currently is fighting at 155 pounds, turned a lot of heads after recently defeating Brazilian professional Christiano Marcello.

While the reality show is in progress in Las Vegas, Lawrence is not permitted to speak with anyone about his experiences, including his family, friends and media outlets.

Lawrence’s father, Benny Voyles, has been his coach since he began fighting at the age of 6 years old.

“A lot of people are picking Justin to win the show now,” Voyles said. “His mother (Dawn Voyles) and I are very proud of the way he’s handled being on the show, more so than even his fighting. He doesn’t get caught up in the drama. He’s there for one reason, and that’s to win.”

The season finale of “The Ultimate Fighter” is scheduled to air on June 1.

Even if Lawrence is not in the finals, Voyles said he likely will compete. Voyles will be on hand to coach Lawrence during the finale.

“A ton of people are booking tickets to Las Vegas for that show,” Voyles said.

“You wouldn’t believe all the calls we’ve been getting from people who have seen Justin fight on television. His goal is to be the best in the world. He wants to show that a local kid from a small town can make it big. Justin hasn’t done anything until he becomes world champion. He wants to win the show, but he has bigger goals. He wants to be world champion.”

Voyles, like many other of Lawrence’s fans and followers, are regular viewers of the television show.

“I like the show. One thing I don’t like is all the drama in the house. All athletes are role models and they should behave like that,” Voyles said. “Justin is not there to party. He’s there to win.”

Voyles has owned and operated 21st Century Self Defense in Pacific since 1995. He’s trained a number of top fighters, including Lawrence, his younger son, Dalton Voyles, and his younger daughter, Demi Voyles.

“I guarantee I have some fighters in my gym who are tougher than some of the guys on the show with Justin. We’ve won 35 national titles in the last five years. Safety always comes first. We have the nicest group of people here. When they get in that ring, they turn on a switch.” Voyles said. “We have rules here that our fighters need to follow. You need to keep a C average at school or you’ll be put on probation. If you disrespect your parents, I’ll kick you out of my gym. Justin lived by those rules. He’s a kid who never gets in trouble. He’s never beat up anyone outside of a gym. He’s a laid back person.”

Lawrence, 21 years of age, is an eight-time kickboxing world champion and a two-time golden gloves champion. He holds a black belt in martial arts. He’s had three professional fights and over 150 amateur fights in boxing, kickboxing and martial arts.

In the mixed martial arts ring, Lawrence can do it all.

“Justin is a great stand up fighter. He can fight free style and is a great jiu-jitsu fighter,” said Voyles, who himself was a professional boxer and kickboxer. “Justin is a stud on the ground. When he’s fighting right, Justin is unbeatable on his feet. He’s explosive and fast — speed kills.”

Lawrence, a former all-state wrestler at Pacific High School along with a standout running back and linebacker on the football field, has worked on his fighting for nearly his entire life.

“Justin’s hard work has paid off. Anybody can do anything if they want something bad enough,” Voyles said. “Justin grew up like anyone else, but when other kids were out getting in trouble, he was out running hills. It’s hard for a 21-year old when your buddies go out and you go to bed. Right now, it’s paying off for him.”

Following the season finale of “The Ultimate Fighter,” Lawrence will return to Pacific and prepare for his next fight.

“If Justin’s head is right, we should win the show. He’s focused and hungry. A few other guys in the house might be able to give him a good fight, but I think the Brazilian (Marcello) will be his toughest test, and he’s already beaten him,” Voyles said. “As long as he doesn’t act like an idiot on the show, Justin has some sponsorships lined up. He’ll take a week off after the show, we’ll get him a fight and he’ll get his professional career going.”

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Area Scoreboard

62nd Annual Borgia Pepsi Thanksgiving Tournament

Blue Division

Pool 1

McCluer North

Normandy

Carnahan

Pool 2

Cardinal Ritter

Pacific

Rockwood Summit

Gold Division

Pool 1

CBC

Soldan

Washington

Pool 2

Borgia

North Tech

Union

Monday, Nov. 24

CBC 77, Washington 52

Tuesday, Nov. 25

Cardinal Ritter vs. Rockwood Summit, PPD

Washington 63, Soldan 62

Borgia 83, Union 50

Wednesday, Nov. 26

Carnahan 71, Normandy 46

Pacific 64, Rockwood Summit 22

North Tech 67, Union 37

Thursday, Nov. 27

McCluer North 95 Carnahan 68

CBC 82, Soldan 55

Borgia 50, North Tech 45

Friday, Nov. 28

McCluer North 93, Normandy 39

Pacific 70, Cardinal Ritter 57

Saturday, Nov. 29

Blue Consolation — Rockwood Summit 47, Normandy 38

Gold Consolation — Soldan 78, Union 59

Gold Third Place — North Tech 63, Washington 57

Blue Third Place — Cardinal Ritter 71, Carnahan 46

Blue Championship — McCluer North 64, Pacific 58 (OT)

Gold Championship — CBC 67, Borgia 66

Boys Basketball

Monday, Dec. 8

Lutheran S 64, St. Clair 48

Borgia 61, Carnahan 51

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Lafayette 44, Washington 35

Friday, Dec. 12

Potosi 72, St. Clair 45

*Washington 69, Ft. Zumwalt North 65

Montgomery Co 62, New Haven 61

*St. Mary’s at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

Bourbon 75, Union 74

Glendale 63, Pacific 46

Saturday, Dec. 13

New Haven 46, Barat 40

Nixa 56, Pacific 46

Tuesday, Dec. 16

*Pacific 70, New Haven 35

*Hermann 67, St. Clair 49

*Ft. Zumwalt South 61, Washington 50

*Union 81, St. James 74

Friday, Dec. 19

*Owensville at St. Clair    4 p.m.

Washington vs. Parkway Central, GAC/Suburban Shootout, St. Charles Family Arena, 5:30 p.m.

*St. James at New Haven    6 p.m.

*Pacific 76, Union 57

Saturday, Dec. 20

Sullivan Shootout

Owensville vs. Rockwood Summit, 11:30 a.m.

Lindbergh 67, St. Clair 46

Jefferson City vs. Jackson, 2:30 p.m.

Washington 56, Lutheran South 54

Poplar Bluff 59, Borgia 49

Sullivan vs. Affton, 7 p.m.

Girls Basketball

Saturday, Dec. 6

Cor Jesu 63, Borgia 60

New Haven 46, Moberly 39

Monday, Dec. 8

Pacific 73, Rolla 40

St. Clair 68, Dixon 37

Washington 54, New Haven 15

Tuesday, Dec. 9

*Borgia 59, Rosati-Kain 38

Union 53, Northwest 44

Thursday, Dec. 11

*Borgia 60, Notre Dame 53

Union 81, Bourbon 53

Friday, Dec. 12

New Haven 45, Principia 30

*Washington 59, Ft. Zumwalt North 32

Saturday, Dec. 13

West Plains 76, Pacific 37

Monday, Dec. 15

*Pacific 46, New Haven 28

*St. Clair 59, Hermann 50

*St. James 64, Union 37

Sullivan Tournament

Cuba 48, Principia 27

Borgia 68, Patriettes 29

Sullivan 56, Pattonville 43

Owensville 78, Farmington 54

Wednesday, Dec. 17

Sullivan Tournament

Farmington 61, Pattonville 39

Sullivan 68, Owensville 64

Principia 55, St. Louis Patriettes 42

Borgia 56, Cuba 38

Thursday, Dec. 18

*St. James 72, New Haven 21

*Union 49, Pacific 48

Friday, Dec. 19

Francis Howell 55, Washington 48

Sullivan Tournament

Seventh Place — Pattonville vs. St. Louis Patriettes, 4 p.m.

Consolation — Farmington vs. Principia, 5:30 p.m.

Third Place — Owensville vs. Cuba, 7 p.m.

Championship — Borgia 62, Sullivan 35

Saturday, Dec. 20

Union at Waynesville    5 p.m.

Wrestling

Monday, Dec. 8

Maplewood 48, Borgia 30

Brentwood 47, Borgia 36

Winfield 48, St. Clair 36

St. Clair 42, St. James 40

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Pacific 55, North County 10

Jackson 63, Washington 12

Farmington 63, Washington 6

Wednesday, Dec. 10

Borgia 36, Lutheran St. Charles 34

Winfield 54, Borgia 30

Thursday, Dec. 11

Union 72, Ft. Zumwalt East 9

Union 52, Principia 30

Union 54, Winfield 27

Saturday, Dec. 13

Union Tournament    9 a.m.

Borgia at McCluer S-Berkeley Tny    9 a.m.

Pacific at Farmington Tny    9 a.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 16

Owensville 61, St. Clair 16

Union 48, Owensville 27

Union 65, St. Clair 18

Friday, Dec. 19

Washington at Raytown S Tny    TBA

Union at Cape Central Tny    TBA

Pacific at Ft. Zumwalt E Tny    TBA

Saturday, Dec. 20

Washington at Raytown S Tny    TBA

Union at Cape Central Tny    TBA

Pacific at Ft. Zumwalt E Tny    TBA

Girls Swimming

Monday, Dec. 8

Washington at Eureka    4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Washington at Nerinx Hall    4 p.m.

LSC/OFC 134, Borgia 101, St. Dominic 83

Monday, Dec. 15

Borgia at Notre Dame (Forest Park)    4 p.m.

Kennedy 88, Washington 84

Wednesday, Dec. 17

Lindbergh 128, Washington 48

*Conference Games

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