Lozano (Pictured) has been a professional mixed martial arts
fighter for a little more than a year, but what a difference a year
Sixteen months after making his professional debut with a 37-second
knockout of Marcus Kuck
at a North American Allied Fight Series even in Cleveland, Ohio,
Lozano remains undefeated, with six stoppages -- all knockouts --
in as many fights. Those six wins include victories over “The
Ultimate Fighter” Season 9 semi-finalist Jason Dent and
UFC veteran Yoshiyuki
“I think he’s made unbelievable progress, but it’s really just the
tip of the iceberg,” said Marcus Marinelli, Lozano’s coach at
Strong Style MMA in Independence, Ohio. “Chris is really
well-rounded. People have seen a lot of his stand-up game, but his
wrestling is good. He’s a hard worker and has good fighting sense.
He’s able to just flow with things as the fight goes along.”
A wrestler since the fifth grade, Lozano’s background also includes
boxing -- he owns a 0-1 mark as a professional boxer -- and tae
kwon do, a discipline in which he earned his red belt by the age of
17. He also holds a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Pablo
Castro and hopes to test for his purple belt soon in front of
Rodrigo “Comprido” Medeiros, Castro’s mentor and UFC heavyweight
Lesnar’s current BJJ coach.
“I love [Brazilian jiu-jitsu],” said Lozano. “I’ve got to go to
Chicago to test. All of the wrestling, boxing and tae kwon do gave
me a good base for MMA.”
Marinelli thinks Lozano’s all-around game has improved since he
turned pro and expects Lozano to only get better with time.
“The strong point for Chris is his striking, but the other aspects
of his game have improved by leaps and bounds,” said Marinelli.
“He’s not just a striker. We want to continue making him better in
everything and take the next step each day he’s in the gym. He’s
already made a lot of progress, so there’s no need to change what
we’re doing. We just have to keep making everything better.”
Lozano is coming off the most significant win of his career -- a
stoppage of Yoshida at Bellator 31 in September. Yoshida took down
Lozano in the first round, but he returned to his feet and soon
took control of the bout with his striking, including a pair of
spinning elbows. In the second round, Lozano used his jiu-jitsu to
control where the fight took place and utilized ground-and-pound to
close Yoshida’s right eye. After the second round, Yoshida’s corner
stopped the fight.
“I had a long camp [going into the Yoshida fight],” said the
28-year-old Lozano. “I was in camp for 12 weeks because I had a
fight scheduled with [UFC veteran] Chad Reiner
for the end of August that fell out, and I got a call from Bellator
right after that, so I just kept my camp going for four more weeks.
It was a blessing to get that call from Bellator, and I know I’m
doing the right things because I’m starting to fight guys with
bigger names. I’ve always been motivated by doing the right things,
and one of those is wanting to fight better and better guys.”
With the win over Yoshida, Lozano punched his ticket for Bellator’s
Season 4 welterweight tournament. Along with Lozano, the draw
already includes Dan
Hornbuckle, Steve Carl and
Weedman. Undefeated Olympic judoka Rick Hawn
appears to be another likely participant.
Lozano does not have a preference as to whom he faces in the
tournament, but he wants to steer clear of Hornbuckle, if possible,
for personal reasons.
“I’ll face anybody in the tournament,” said Lozano. “There’s not
any one fighter that I don’t want to see, but one I definitely
would rather not see until later in the tournament is [Hornbuckle].
We’ve traveled and trained together some and become friends during
Before the tournament starts, Lozano wants to stay busy, both in
the gym and possibly by getting in another MMA fight or boxing
“I’m already back in the gym doing BJJ,” said Lozano. “I’m focused,
and people don’t know and won’t know how focused I am until they
see the results in my fights. People got a glimpse of what I can do
in my last fight, but that’s just the beginning of what I can
Photo courtesy of Bellator Fighting Championships.