Ultimate Fighter veteran and former Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) featherweight champ Justin Lawrence might be coming off a split-decision loss to Emmanuel Sanchez, but his resolve to capture the Bellator title hasn’t wavered in the slightest.

“I left the arena that night not hanging my head at all. I gave it my all. I just came up a little short,” Lawrence told FO regarding his Bellator 145 loss to Sanchez. “I felt like one punch or the one kick he landed kind of won him the fight, and you can’t win a fight off one punch unless you knock me out cold. I don’t feel like that was the case. I felt like I was winning every round. He caught me with a head kick there at the end of the second with 10 seconds left. It rocked me – I’m not going to lie – but it didn’t put me down.

“I took a lot away from that fight. I probably (didn’t have) the best cardio, I exited sloppy – which is the reason he caught me with that kick – so I’ve made some adjustments and I feel like I’m still riding that wave and I have plenty of momentum going into this fight.”

Lawrence is scheduled to face more experienced Japanese fighter Isao Kobayashi at Bellator 157 (Bellator: Dynamite 2) – one of Bellator’s biggest scheduled events of 2016 – this Friday and is confident of victory.

“I feel like every fighter fights different every fight. I think he’s going to try and grapple me up a little bit, try to push me up against the cage and take me down. I know he’s a former Pancrase champion but I’m a former RFA champion, so that doesn’t mean a whole lot. We’re here in Bellator and we’re not champions in this division yet. I feel like I’m the better fighter and I’m going to show it.”

With a convincing win, Lawrence sees himself taking the first step on the road to another gold belt.

“I feel like a win over Kobayashi will definitely put me in the mix and maybe knocking on that title at the end of this year or maybe next year,” said Lawrence.

Failing a title shot, Lawrence would love a chance to avenge his last defeat.

“I’m not trying to look past Kobayashi at all but, man, I would love that fight back with Emmanuel Sanchez. At the end of the day I’m just trying to fight, get a couple more fights by the end of the day,” he added. “I don’t really care who it is because I’ve got to get through anyone they put in front of me to get where I want to be. I belong at the top of this division. I know it in my heart and I know it in my head. It’s my job to go in there, impose my will and fight my fight.”

Bellator 157 takes place June 24th at the Scottrade Center in St Louis, Missouri.