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Tag: Muhammad Lawal

Bellator 96 Recap: King Mo and War Machine Score First-Round Wins, Babalu Sobral Announces Retirement Following Loss


(Like I said, betting money on Petruzelli would be a *terrible* idea. / Photo via Facebook.com/BellatorMMA)

Bellator’s 2013 Summer Series kicked off last night in Thackerville, Oklahoma — population: 404 — with the semifinals of the promotion’s latest light-heavyweight and heavyweight tournaments. The televised card was an overall success, featuring fast action, brutal stoppages, and much-needed wins for a pair of marquee names. But it didn’t go well for everybody. Here are the important points…

War Machine Is Back in General Population
In a non-tournament bout that opened the broadcast, charmingly outspoken welterweight War Machine returned to competition for the first time since his latest stint in jail, facing journeyman Blas Avena. Machine appeared to be in fine form, putting Avena on his back in the second half of the opening round, trapping his arm, and slugging Avena with left hands until the match was stopped at the 3:55 mark. Random thought: War really needs to be a coach on season 2 of Fight Master. You want drama? There’s your drama.

Heavyweights Gonna Heavyweight
Both of the heavyweight tournament semi-finals resulted in gnarly first-round knockouts. During the prelims, Ryan Martinez — who came in as a short-notice replacement for the injured Vinicius Queiroz — slugged out Richard Hale with punches from the top. And on the main card, undefeated Russian prospect Vitaly Minakov needed just 32 seconds to beat the crap out of Ron Sparks. Minakov is now 11-0, with six of those wins coming in the first minute of the fight. He and Martinez will now face each other at Bellator 97, July 31st in Albuquerque.

Farewell, Sweet Babalu

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Absurd Betting Line of the Day: King Mo is a 15-1 Favorite Against Seth Petruzelli, Who Will Probably Beat Him


(Be honest: How many of you were even aware that this fight was happening? / Image via Facebook.com/King.Mo.FH)

Props to @MMAdamMartin for giving us the heads up that Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal is currently as high as a -1545 betting favorite in his scheduled match against Seth Petruzelli this Wednesday at Bellator 96. Keep in mind that Lawal was a 10-1 favorite in his last match against Emanuel Newton, which ended with Mo getting knocked out with a spinning backfist in the first round.

Let that sink in for a moment. Still with us? Good. So, after losing that match, Lawal has somehow become an even more immense favorite against a guy who is BEST KNOWN FOR A DRAMATIC UPSET, FOR FUCK’S SAKE.

At this point, you can get Seth Petruzelli for +725 at SportBet and 5Dimes, meaning that a $100 bet on the Silverback would return $725 in profit if he wins. Meanwhile, a $1,545 wager on Lawal would return $100 in profit if he wins, which has to be the dumbest investment in the history of world currency.

If you want to bet on Petruzelli, do it now before the oddsmakers sober up.

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Friday Link Dump: Insane Chimp-Fight, King Mo’s Pro-Wrestling Debut, 100 Worst Yearbook Photos + More


Insane Chimp Fight – Watch More Funny Videos
(Well, that escalated quickly. Watch out for the appearance of the stick-sword at 1:02. Props: Break.com)

Roy Nelson: “It Only Takes One Shot to Become a Champion” (BleacherReport)

One Year After Much-Heralded Deal, King Mo Lawal Quietly Has First U.S. Pro Wrestling Match (MMAFighting)

Mark Munoz’s Low Point, And The Battles Fight Fans Rarely See (MMAJunkie)

“Metamoris 2: Gracie vs. Aoki” Video Trailer (YouTube.com/Metamoris)

Shannon Ihrke, Invicta FC Ring Girl: Top 10 Sexiest Photos (FightDay)

Cheick Kongo Turned Down Four Fight Contract Before UFC 159 (BloodyElbow)

Diego Sanchez Isn’t Impressed With Ben Henderson, Sees a Lot of Holes in His Game (MiddleEasy)

8 Creepy Dating Apps You Shouldn’t Download (MensFitness)

The 100 Worst Yearbook Photos Ever (WorldwideInterweb)

Reese Witherspoon’s Dash Cam Arrest Video Is Her Best Performance Yet (FilmDrunk)

The Most Surprising Clutch NBA Playoff Performances of All Time (Complex)

Brittney Griner Signs With A Chinese Team Because It Pays A Lot More (Deadspin)

The Funniest Counterfeits Ever Photographed (DoubleViking)

Avoiding the Dreaded ‘Friend Zone’, Part 1 (EgoTV)

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Fresh Off His Knockout Of ‘King Mo’, Emanuel Newton Believes Bellator LHW Title Will Be His


(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.

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Bellator 90 Recap: ‘King Mo’ Dethroned Via Spinning Backfist, Ben Saunders Adds Head Kick KO to Highlight Reel


(The Emanuel Newton vs. King Mo spinning-backfist falling-tree knockout, via RockOwnsPunk.)

When you’re watching a Bellator event, you can only hope that a memorable finish or two will make up for the general lack of star power compared to those other guys. And oh man, did last night’s Bellator 90 event in West Valley City, Utah, deliver the goods, with all four fights on the Spike TV main card ending within the first two rounds, and three more stoppages featured on the prelims.

But the card’s generous helping of violence was a mixed blessing, since the list of victims included Bellator’s light-heavyweight marquee attraction, and their marketable featherweight inspirational figure. If you didn’t tune in last night, here’s what you missed:

Season 8 Welterweight Semi-Finals: Ben Saunders faced Raul Amaya for the second time in his Bellator stint, and while Killa B completely dominated their first meeting en route to a unanimous decision win, he didn’t even let Amaya out of the first round this time. Amaya was aggressive from the opening bell, but wasn’t able to find his range against the lanky Saunders, who landed counter-punches and body-kicks at will, before putting Amaya’s lights out with a left high kick. (GIF here, via ZombieProphet/BloodyElbow)

The fight on the other side of the 170-bracket was just as quick and one-sided. Douglas Lima didn’t give Bryan Baker a chance to get in the fight, abusing Baker’s legs with low kicks for a couple minutes, then firing a devastating right hand that crumpled “The Beast” to the mat. Lima will now face Saunders in the Season 8 Welterweight Tournament Final at Bellator 93, in a rematch of their Season 5 Welterweight Tournament Final in November 2011, which Lima won by knockout.

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Bellator 90 Pre-Fight Interview: King Mo Discusses His Successful Return to the Cage, Tonight’s LHW Semi-Final Against Emanuel Newton


(Lawal and Newton square off at yesterday’s weigh-ins. Photo via Sherdog)

By Elias Cepeda

After a year marked by a steroid suspension, a life-threatening staph infection, a firing from Zuffa, and then a quick hire by Bellator, Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal finally got back in the ring in January. The former amateur collegiate and international wrestler fought and beat the aggressive (and consonant-heavy) Przemyslaw Mysiala at Bellator 86, ending the match by first-round KO.

Lawal is back in action tonight at Bellator 90, where he and Emanuel Newton will meet in the semi-finals of the promotion’s Season 8 light-heavyweight tournament. We caught up with Mo recently to discuss getting back in the ring and his training for the peculiar tournament structure. Check out our conversation below, and be sure to tune in to the Spike TV broadcast of Bellator 90 at 10 p.m. ET, which will also feature the Season 8 welterweight tournament finals, and the delayed featherweight tournament final between Shahbulat Shamhalaev and Rad Martinez.

CagePotato: What was it like getting back in the cage last month after such a long layoff?

Muhammed Lawal: The weird thing is. It didn’t feel any different. I had [agent] Mike Kogan, my brother Bull who is fighting in Legacy Fighting Championships in April and Jeff Mayweather with me like usual. I had all my friends and family and coaches around me, so it felt normal.

But I also felt relieved and I felt rejuvenated to see blood and sweat on you, to step into the cage. Seeing my opponent on the other side made me realize what I really missed. It’s like when you are dating a girl. When she’s gone you think, ‘damn, I really miss this or that about her.’

I wanted to get a feel for things in the cage when I got in there but the dude [Mysiala] came forward with haymakers and I knew this might happen, so luckily Jeff Mayweahter trained me well. He trained me to slip, slip, catch, block and roll, and that’s what I tried to do. I hit him with a check hook while he was trying to land a big shot.

CP: Your semi-final fight is just four weeks after the last one. Do you have any injuries left over that you’ll have to fight with?

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Bellator 86 Recap: Askren Finishes (!) Amoussou, King Mo Squashes Other Dude, Fancy Flips Can’t Save Zaromskis


(Sorry Ben, I don’t think we can count those as “significant strikes.” GIF via ZombieProphet/BloodyElbow)

For the first time since his controversial technical submission of Ryan Thomas during his Bellator debut three years ago, Ben Askren has finished an opponent. Sure, it was one of those sort-of-assisted finishes where the doctor steps in between rounds to wave the fight off, but let’s not take anything anything away from Funky Ben, here: The undefeated Bellator welterweight champion smashed the living dog-poop out of Karl Amoussou for three full rounds last night, and might have permanently injured him had the fight gone on any longer.

It was a prototypical performance from Askren, who spent most of the fight on top of Amoussou, throwing down punches and elbows. Still, there seemed to be a greater sense of urgency from the champ in this fight, a little more intention with his strikes. He slashed open a cut above Amoussou’s eye with an elbow in the first round, and by the end of round three, Amoussou’s left eye was swollen shut and his face was a wet canvas of blood. The fight was mercifully stopped before the fourth round could begin, giving Askren a well-deserved TKO victory.

“I told you guys that it was just a matter of time before my hands got some power in them,” Askren said after the fight. “I dominate positionally, and my hands [have] power too. Welterweights anywhere in the world better watch out, I’m coming.” Askren’s next challenge will likely be the winner of this season’s welterweight tournament, which produced four semifinalists last night…

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Exclusive: ‘King Mo’ Looks to Regain His Crown After Year-Long Exile



By Elias Cepeda

With how often former Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion Muhammed Lawal talks about money, one might think it is his only motivation. He can go on and on about how cash motivates him during fights and how he invests wisely so as not to have to depend solely on professional fighting for income.

Lawal’s financial focus fits in well with the namesake of the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas, where Lawal does much of his training these days. (San Jose, CA, the home of the American Kickboxing Academy where he has previously trained during fight camps, got “too expensive,” according to Mo.) But just as with Floyd Mayweather Jr., there is a lot more substance behind the former wrestler’s style and talk.

The fighter known as “King Mo” has not been able to fight professionally for over a year because of a suspension stemming from a positive steroid test after his last fight against Lorenz Larkin. So, for the past year Mo has not gotten paid a red cent to fight — yet he says his motivation to train hard never waned.

“I never had a problem [staying motivated]. Never,” he tells CagePotato. “I love being in the gym, I love working out. My mind is always on fighting of some sort.”

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Friday Link Dump: The Complete Oral History of Strikeforce, King Mo Wants to Box Kimbo Slice, The 50 Dirtiest Athletes Ever + More


(Seems like oooooold times…” / Photo via allelbows)

- The Rise and Fall of the Pepsi to UFC’s Coke: A Strikeforce Oral History (BleacherReport)

- Chael Sonnen vs. Jon Jones Official For UFC 159 in New Jersey (FightDay)

Gegard Mousasi and the Frustration of ‘Overrated’ (MMAFighting)

King Mo Lawal Has Boxing Clause in His Contract, Would Like a Fight With Kimbo Slice (BloodyElbow)

- Cub Swanson Says Fight With Dennis Siver Is #1 Featherweight Contender Match (Fightline)

The 50 Dirtiest Athletes in Sports History (Complex)

Review: Brian J. D’Souza’s “Pound for Pound” MMA book Is Top-Class Reading (FightOpinion)

- Photo of the day: Ed O’Neill chokes out Royce Gracie on the set of ‘Modern Family’ (Facebook.com/CagePotato)

Steven Seagal Owns a Bullet-Proof Kimono. This Is Not a Joke. (FilmDrunk)

If You’ve Never Seen American Psycho, This Rory MacDonald Comic Will Not Make Sense (MiddleEasy)

10 Reasons You’re Not Getting Laid (MensFitness)

- Honest Trailers: Inception (ScreenJunkies)

17 Gifts for People You Hate (EgoTV)

- A Gallery of White People Acting Extremely White (WorldWideInterweb)

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Bellator Confirms Stacked Lineup for Jan. 17 Spike TV Premiere, Debut Date for King Mo and ‘Babalu’

Bellator’s first event on Spike TV will take place Thursday, January 17th, at the University of California’s Bren Center in Irvine, California, and will be headlined by a pair of title fights. The promotion confirmed the news today, revealing that undefeated phenom Michael Chandler will make his first official lightweight title defense at the event (aka Bellator 85) against Rick Hawn, the 14-1 Olympic judoka who won the Season 5 lightweight tournament earlier this year.

Also on the card, featherweight champion Pat Curran — who’s 4-0 since dropping to 145 and is coming off his near-murder of Joe Warren — will be putting his belt on the line against explosive contender Patricio “Pitbull” Freire. Though Freire won all three of his fights in 2011, winning the Season 4 featherweight tournament, he wasn’t able to compete in 2012, partly due to injuries.

And that’s not all. During a Bellator/Spike TV conference call held earlier today, many more details about Bellator 85 and the promotion’s upcoming eighth season were announced. For instance…

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