37-Year-Old Bellator Light Heavyweight 21-7-0
May 12, 2018 Muhammed Lawal News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Lawal lost to Ryan Bader via KO (punches) at 0:15 of Round 1 at Bellator 199 on Saturday in San Jose, Calif.
Lawal seemed like a natural fit for the Bellator heavyweight tournament. Despite competing in wrestling at 84 kg, approximately 185 pounds, "King Mo" has spent the majority of his MMA career at light heavyweight. On multiple occasions, he has even moved up to heavyweight with surprising success. However, following his 15-second knockout loss to Bader, Lawal announced on Twitter that he was dropping down to middleweight. The division is one of the shallowest divisions in Bellator, and Lawal previously defeated top contender Gegard Mousasi under the Strikeforce banner in 2010.
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Fantasy Analysis"King Mo" (21-6) has won nine of his last 11 bouts and will return to the heavyweight division for this tournament. He holds a Strikeforce title as well as wins over the likes of Gegard Mousasi and Linton Vassell. Lawal has also split a two-fight series with "Rampage" Jackson; this tournament holds the possibility of a tie-breaker bout for the two. Other fighters competing for gold include Jackson, Roy Nelson, Chael Sonnen, Frank Mir, Fedor Emelianenko, Matt Mitrione and Ryan Bader.
Fantasy AnalysisLawal was slated to take on Liam McGeary in a light heavyweight bout, but was forced to withdraw due to an undisclosed injury. A replacement for "King Mo" hasn't been found as of Tuesday, but Bellator is looking to keep McGeary on the card. A timetable for Lawal's return is unknown.
Fantasy AnalysisOn paper Lawal had a wrestling advantage, and this turned out to be the case. However, it was not as large as you might think. Jackson made it very tough for Lawal along the cage. Plus, whenever Lawal was able to drag him down, Jackson would quickly get back to his feet. With that being said, "King Mo" mixed his wrestling and striking well in order to win rounds one and three. In the second round, "Rampage" scored some hard shots, but Lawal survived and continued. This is one of the biggest wins of Lawal's career and corrected a previous loss via dubious decision.
Fantasy AnalysisLawal will be looking to get back on track after falling to legend Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic in the first round of the 2016 Rizin World Grand Prix. In his last three outings, he has scored only one victory over Satoshi Ishii in the main event of Bellator 169. "Rampage" defeated Lawal in the main event of Bellator 120 via a controversial decision.
Fantasy AnalysisLawal has hit a bit of a rough patch in his MMA career, as he's followed up a seven-fight winning streak from 2014-15 by losing two of his last three bouts. His victory was a lackluster decision win over Satoshi Ishii on Dec. 16. Losing to the 42-year-old Cro Cop doesn't look good, but that being said, "King Mo" likely remains a top-five Bellator light heavyweight.
Fantasy AnalysisLawal was the better fighter for the majority of this fight, but he was never close to putting his opponent away. In the first round, he edged out the striking and landed a few takedowns. The second round was a similar story. Lawal got the better of the striking, but he did not throw with enough volume to do damage. In the last round, Lawal went to his wrestling early, but it was mostly uneventful. Lawal is one of the best light
Fantasy Analysis"King Mo" Lawal was supposed to meet Davis in the final round of Bellator MMA: Dynamite in Sept. 2015. Lawal, however, suffered a hip injury earlier that night, putting him out of action until late December, when he picked up three victories at Rizin FF. King Mo has momentum on his side, picking up seven consecutive victories between the Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight division. The winner of Saturday's Main Event clash is certain to earn a title shot Light Heavyweight champion Liam McGeary, signifying the importance of this bout in Lawal's career.
Fantasy Analysis'King' Mo suffered the injury during his fight against Linton Vassell at Bellator: Dynamite last Saturday. The injury forced him to withdraw from his scheduled tournament finale bout against eventual champion Phil Davis. Nothing noticeable appeared to happen during the fight, but there were reports that Mo was in so much pain backstage after the bout that he couldn't lift his arm above his head. Long term, the injury means little and it should have no effect when it comes to scheduling Mo's next bout.
Fantasy AnalysisThe win was bittersweet for King Mo; the former Strikeforce champion went through Vassell with relative ease, but was unable to continue to the next round of the light heavyweight tournament due to an injured foot. While Vassell is a formidable opponent, a two round decision victory will likely have little effect on Lawal's trajectory in Bellator's rankings. Given the current state of flux within Bellator's light heavyweight division, King Mo could be just one impressive victory away from another title shot.
Fantasy AnalysisKing Mo has been in old form lately, winning fights against UFC veterans in each of his last three bouts. The former Strikeforce champion has had a tumultuous run in Bellator, dropping two fights to Emanuel Newton and losing a controversial decision to Quentin "Rampage" Jackson. Possessing elite boxing skills and boasting a Division 1 college wrestling background, the American Top Team fighter will look to advance to 2-0 in 2015 against Vassell.