“King” Mo Lawal has been as a much as a 14-1 favorite for his semifinal matchup vs. Emanuel Newton in the light heavyweight tournament tonight at Bellator 90 in Salt Lake City, Utah. It will be his second fight in less than a month. Many a Bellator fighter, consider the tournament a tough and arduous process. Lawal was very cavalier on the topic as a guest yesterday on Darce Side Radio.
“It hasn’t been grueling. I come from a wrestling background, Lawal said. “You know what I’m saying? It’s kind of weird, but at the same time I’m always in the gym so I’m not really worried about anything at all.”
Lawal admitted to Newton being a tough and durable guy, and that he had to fight him smart. Many a pundit would argue he didn’t fight smart in the opening round of the tournament, where he gave his opponent Przemyslaw Mysiala no respect. He had his hands low most of the opening round, and showcased a style usually only seen in boxing, using the shoulder roll technique, before knocking out Mysiala in the first round.
“I saw the opportunity for the shoulder roll a few times because he was so tentative. He tried to counter with those wide looping shots, Lawal explained. “I know who I can use it against, and I know who I can’t use it against. I had the opportunity to use it against him, and it worked.”
We will probably see “King Mo” go for the knockout once again, and some of that same flashy style vs. Newton tonight although it is worth noting that Newton hasn’t been finished with strikes since his pro debut back in 2003, the only TKO loss on his record.
Lawal has been pushed hard and fast by Bellator and Spike TV. A one hour special on the fighter was shown right after the opening card on Spike. The special showcased his move to Bellator, and on joining the TNA pro wrestling promotion also featured heavily on Spike.
Lawal admitted to having a pretty cool experience with Bellator so far, and being very appreciative of his new MMA home, the TV special on him, and being a huge fan of the tournament.
He had some choice words when asked about his former employers Zuffa, when asked if he has given thought to the Strikeforce fighters moving over to the UFC since he was once the Strikeforce light heavyweight champ.
“I don’t give a damn about the UFC, Lawal said. “I’m not in the UFC. I’m not a slave or a groupie for a brand, that’s everybody else, that’s the fans,” Lawal continued. “Me, I just go where I’m wanted and respected. Bellator is where it’s at. I don’t care about the UFC. I don’t care if I ever fight for the UFC.”
With a win tonight, Lawal will advance to the light heavyweight final vs. Mikhail Zyats.