Bellator MMA’s “King Mo” Lawal is jumping from the fire into the frying pan.
The former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion and current Bellator 205-pound contender is entered in the inaugural Rizin FF light heavyweight grand prix tournament on the heels of participating in the Bellator & Glory: Dynamite 1 four-man, single-night tournament in September.
He advanced to the finals, but an injury prevented him from competing in the tournament title bout. The 34-year-old is looking to rebound from the letdown of having to pull out of Sept. 19 tournament.
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“I get a chance to redeem myself,” Lawal told MMAWeekly.com.
The Rizin tournament takes place over two days with a day separating the opening round from the semifinals and finals, which take place in the same night. The participants were selected as representatives from several international fight promotions.
In the opening round, Lawal faces Englishman and BAMMA representative Brett “The Spartan” McDermott in the first round of the eight-man tournament at the Saitama Super Arena near Tokyo.
“He’s a tough guy that has heavy hands. He looks like Leonidas from the movie 300. He’s just strong, and he’s tough,” Lawal said about his upcoming opponent.
Rizin is brining back the old Pride tournament round system. Instead of fights consisting of three, five-minute rounds as is customary in the United States, the fights will take place over two rounds with the first lasting ten minutes and the second lasting five minutes. Lawal believes the round structure benefits him.
“I’m just going to go out there and fight smart,” he said. “A smarter fighter can slow the pace down or pick the pace up. A fighter that reacts to you will either get worn down or ….View full article