Johns targets stoppage in PFL play-offs bid

Britain's Brett Johns is targeting a stoppage win against American Tyler Diamond in his next Professional Fighters League (PFL) bout.

Johns accepts he needs such a triumph to boost his play-off hopes, but accepts it will be a tough task.

Johns, 32, was beaten by Timur Khizriev in his opening bout in April, and faces a mammoth task to make August's play-offs.

The Swansea featherweight takes Diamond in the $1m dollar tournament in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Friday, 28 June.

Diamond was drafted in to fight Johns following the withdrawal of Hungary's Adam Borics.

Johns agrees he is likely to need force a stoppage to have any chance.

"I think it’s fair to say this next fight now we can’t just win," said Johns.

"Winning with a [judges'] decision is not good enough.

"The example I try to give to people is Wales are in the group stages, they can’t just win, they’ve got to win by three goals basically and that’s the sort of position we’re in now.

"It’s a big ask, I'm fighting a tough competitor, but it’s mixed martial arts and anything can happen on the night."

Fellow Briton Brendan Loughnane is one of two fighters with maximum points from his first bout in the competition.

The Manchester fighter earned six points with an 86-second first-round stoppage of Pedro Carvalho.

Loughnane will take on American Justin Gonzales in the main event.

Gonzales was beaten in the first round by Brazil's Gabriel Braga in his last bout.

The PFL tournaments see fighters earn three points with a win, with further points added for stoppages, on a scale depending on which round the stoppage occurred.

A first-round stoppage is worth six points to a fighter, a second-round worth five points, and a third-round stoppage is worth four points.

A victory by judges' decision is worth three points, with one point for a draw and no points for a defeat.

The top four fighters in the standings will progress to the play-offs later this year.

The only British fighter to have qualified for the play-offs to date this season is Dakota Ditcheva, who scored a maximum 12 points from her two bouts in the women's flyweight tournament to progress as top seed.

How they stand going into the event in Sioux Falls
How they stand going into the event in Sioux Falls [BBC]

Fight preparation and sleepless nights

Johns became a father at the end of May as he and his wife Carys welcomed their daughter Beti Mair, something he has called "an amazing experience".

"I’ve been searching for something to go along with fighting and I think it’s fair to say I’ve found that now with my daughter," said Johns.

"I’m just so grateful towards my wife who’s gone through hell over the last nine months really, but she’s finally here and she’s the most beautiful thing ever."

Despite juggling "five hours of sleep a night", Johns says he is feeling good ahead of the fight.

"I’ll take whatever comes to me," said Johns.

"If it is a knockout then brilliant, submission, brilliant.

"You’ve got to be very careful that you don’t gas yourself out by going for the finish. The most important aspect of this game is to collect the win, but for me to go through I’m going to need a finish of some sort.

"He’s (Diamond) a tough division one wrestler, he’s going to be ready and raring to go and I’m just going to fight fire with fire and see who’s fitter on the night.

"It’s a very slim chance we’ll go through to the play-offs, but having said that, there’s a chance.

"You can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be going for it."