28 Mar 2013 11:45:30 AM
(Photo via Bellator.com)
By Elias Cepeda
Last month, former Strikeforce champion Muhammad Lawal was scheduled to take his next academic step towards the Bellator light-heavyweight tournament title. Sure, he had to fight someone, but no one seemed to give much credit to his opponent, Emanuel Newton.
The two had traveled and trained in the same circles, even together, but their careers couldn’t have been more different. Lawal was a former top international wrestler that entered high-level MMA with great fanfare and quickly became one of the most dangerous 205-pound fighters in the world.
Newton, instead, had toiled on mostly the regional circuits for nearly ten years. He had fought, and sometimes beaten, guys who would go on to fight and win in the UFC, but Newton’s own shot at the big time had yet to come.
Fighting in the Bellator tournament, however, gave him his chance. Both Newton and Lawal won their first-round fights in January and advanced to face one another. All the attention, including from this writer and site, was on Lawal.
With his pedigree, brash public persona, and world class skills, “King Mo” was the story. The world took for granted that he had taken a step down to fight in Bellator after being fired by Zuffa (the parent company of Strikeforce and the UFC) and that Lawal would easily stomp through every one of his opponents in the tournament, Newton included.Read More ADD COMMENTS (12) DIGG THIS