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

Area Sports Schedule

American Legion Baseball

Ninth District Senior Legion Tournament

Thursday, July 17

At Westhoff Park

G1 (1) West 11, (8) Pacific 1

G2 (4) St. Charles 17, (5) Elsberry 2

At St. Peters Rec-Plex

G3 (3) Washington 4, (6) Wentzville 0

G4 (2) Daniel Boone 8, (7) St. Peters 2

Friday, July 18

At St. Peters Rec-Plex

G5 Elsberry 8, Pacific 3

G6 St. Peters 9, Wentzville 1

At Westhoff Park

G7 St. Charles 4, West 1

G8 Daniel Boone 7, Washington 4

Saturday, July 19

At St. Peters Rec-Plex

G9 Washington 9, Elsberry 4

G10 West 9, St. Peters 6

G12 West 14, Washington 1

At Westhoff Park

G11 St. Charles def. Daniel Boone (fft)

Sunday, July 20

Rest at Westhoff Park

G13 Championship — West 2, St. Charles 1 (13 innings)

Monday, July 21

G14 If-Needed Game — St. Charles 13, West 11

Zone 1 Senior Legion Tournament

At Lindenwood University, St. Charles

Thursday, July 24

G1 West 13, Daniel Boone Post 262 8

G2 Jefferson City Post 5 11, Hannibal Post 55 2

Friday, July 25

G3 St. Charles Post 312 vs. West, 5 p.m.

G4 Daniel Boone vs. Hannibal, 8 p.m.

Saturday, July 26

G5 Jefferson City vs. G3 winner, 10 a.m.

G6 G3 loser vs. G4 winner, 4 p.m.

G7 G5 loser vs. G6 winner, 7 p.m.

Sunday, July 27

G8 Championship — G5 winner vs. G7 winner, 1 p.m.

G9 If-Needed Game — G8 winner vs. G8 loser, 4 p.m.

Ninth District Junior Legion Tournament

Tuesday, July 8

At Union High School

G1 (1) Elsberry 3, (8) New Haven 0

At Ronsick Field

G4 (3) Washington 7, (6) Wentzville 1

G4 (2) Union 8, (7) Hannibal 1

At St. Peters Rec-Plex

G2 (5) St. Peters 8, (4) St. Charles 6

Wednesday, July 9

At New Haven

G5 Wentzville 4, New Haven 0

G6 St. Charles 8, Hannibal 7 (9 innings)

At Ronsick Field

G7 St. Peters 5, Elsberry 2

G8 Washington 2, Union 1

Remainder at Ronsick Field

Thursday, July 10

G9 Union 7, Wentzville 1

G10 Elsberry 3, St. Charles 2

Friday, July 11

G11 Washington 12, St. Peters 11 (10 innings)

G12 Elsberry 6, Union 3

Saturday, July 12

G13 Elsberry 4, St. Peters 3

G14 Championship — Washington 3, Elsberry 1

Washington wins district, to host Zone 1 Tournament at Borgia. Schedule below.

Junior Legion Zone 1 Tournament

At Borgia

Thursday, June 17

G1 Elsberry Post 226 10, Chillicothe Post 25 2

Friday, June 18

G2 Washington Post 218 5, Elsberry 1

G3 Chillicothe 5, Elsberry 4

Saturday, June 19

G4 Championship — Washington 16, Chillicothe 0 (5 innings)

Washington advances to State Tournament in Jackson.

Junior Legion State Tournament

At Jackson

Thursday, July 24

G1 Jackson 3, Springfield Glendale 2

G2 Eureka 7, Sedalia 0

Friday, June 25

G3 Washington vs. Jackson, noon

G4 Springfield Glendale vs. Sedalia, 2:30 p.m.

G5 Eureka vs. G3 winner, 5 p.m.

G6 G3 loser vs. G4 winner, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, June 26

G7 G5 loser vs. G6 winner, 1 p.m.

G8 Championship — G5 winner vs. G7 winner, 3:30 p.m.

Sunday, June 27

G9 If-Needed Game — G8 winner vs. G8 loser, 1 p.m.

Freshman Legion Ninth District Tournament

Tuesday, July 8

At Elsberry Legion Field

G1 (1) St. Charles 7, (8) St. Peters 0

G2 (4) Elsberry-Winfield 4, (5) Wentzville 3

At Elsberry Khoury League Field

G3 (3) Hannibal 3, (6) Warrenton 2

G4 (2) Washington 10, (7) West 1

Wednesday, July 9

At Elsberry Khoury League Field

G5 St. Peters 17, Warrenton 6

G6 Wentzville 5, West 4

At Elsberry Legion Field

G7 St. Charles 10, Elsberry-Winfield 2

G8 Washington 3, Hannibal 0

Remainder at Elsberry Legion Field

Thursday, July 10

G9 St. Peters 11, Hannibal 9

G10 Elsberry-Winfield 13, Wentzville 4

Friday, July 11

G12 Elsberry-Winfield 8, St. Peters 3

G11 Washington 6, St. Charles 0, 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 12

G13 St. Charles 10, Elsberry-Winfield 1

G14 Championship — St. Charles 5, Washington 2

Sunday, July 13

G15 If-Needed Game — St. Charles 2, Washington 0

Missouri Freshman

Legion State Tournament

At Rotary Recreational

Complex - Ronsick Field

Wednesday, July 16

G1 Creve Coeur Post 397 16, St. Robert Post 331 2

G2 Ste. Genevieve Post 150 4, St. Charles Post 312 0

G3 Jackson Post 158 1, vs. Springfield Glendale Merchants 0

G4 Washington Post 218 9, Eureka Post 177 4

Thursday, July 17

G5 Springfield Glendale 11, St. Robert 1 (St. Robert eliminated)

G6 St. Charles 10, Eureka 2 (Eureka eliminated)

G7 Ste. Genevieve 4, Creve Coeur 2

G8 Washington 12, Jackson 10

Friday, July 18

G9 Jackson 12, Springfield Glendale 0 (Springfield Glendale eliminated)

G10 Creve Coeur 8, St. Charles 3 (St. Charles eliminated)

G11 Ste. Genevieve 3, Washington 2

G12 Creve Coeur 11, Jackson 7 (Jackson eliminated)

Saturday, July 19

G13 Washington 8, Creve Coeur 3 (Creve Coeur eliminated)

G14 Championship—Washington 5, Ste. Genevieve 2

Sunday, July 20

G15 Championship Game 2—Washington 3, Ste. Genevieve 0

Great Midwest Football League

July 19

Missouri Cyclones 34, Illinois Justice 0

Swim Team Schedules

Washington Swim Team

Date    Opponent    Time/Result

6-9    at Oaks Landing    Washington 192-100

6-16    Westglen    Washington 259-206

6-23    at Fox Creek    Washington 311-225

6-30    at Chadwick    Chadwick 264-258

7-7    Cherry Hills    Washington 291-140

7-11 at Division Meet, Westminster Christian First

Pacific Swim Team

Date    Opponent    Time/Result

6-9    Lake of the Woods    LOtW 176-130

6-16    at Union    Union 289-220

6-23    Bridle Creek    Pacific 371-124

6-30    at Arbor Oaks    Pacific 282-241

7-7    at Indian Hills    Cancelled, weather

7-12    Division Meet    First

Union Swim Team

Date    Opponent    Time/Result

6-9    at Arbor Oaks    Union 180-120

6-16    Pacific    Union 289-220

6-23    at Lake of the Woods    LoTW 312-201

6-30    Indian Hills    Union 322-275

7-7    Bridle Creek    PPD

7-12    at Division Meet, Pacific    Third

Pacific Diving Team

Date    Opponent    Time

6-14    at MAC West    MAC West 40-30

6-21    at Lindgate    Lindgate

6-28    at Cool Dell    9 a.m.

7-13    at Championships    8 a.m.

*Indicates League Games

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