The main event at Bellator 199 saw top heavyweights Ryan Bader and Muhammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal face off inside the SAP Center in San Jose, California.
There was a lot at stake in this contest with the winner guaranteed a fight against Matt Mitrione in the semi-finals of the 2018 Bellator Heavyweight World Grand Prix.
Speaking with reporters beforehand, Lawal said that no matter where the fight went, he had the edge.
“It’s a fight, so I’m gonna go out there and punch him in his mouth. How should I respond? If he backs up, like yo I’ll punch him in his mouth. If he comes forward, I’m gonna punch more, make his ass back up. And if he wants to make it a wrestling match, we can make it a wrestling match, man.”
Unfortunately for King Mo, things didn’t work out that way; a left hook from Bader at the very beginning of round one cracked him on the chin and dropped him to the canvas.
Bader immediately jumped on the dazed Lawal before he could recover and unleashed a furious flurry of punches.
The ref gave King Mo plenty of opportunity to get his wis back but Bader showed him no such courtesy, landing ten solids right hands to Lawal’s head before proceedings were called to a halt.
“I just saw him duck and I knew where his head was going, so I met him with that hook,” Bader said afterwards. “I was surprised, but I thought that result was going to come at some point. I thought there would be more trading. It just happened to be the first punch…I found the sweet spot.”
Bader is now officially on a tear, having won five straight and 10 out of his last 11. He advances to the semifinals of Bellator’s epic tournament and will face Mitrione later this year.
In the other semi-final, heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko takes on Chael Sonnen, with the winners due to meet in the final at the end of this year.
“It gets real now,” Bader said. “I’m looking forward to that fight. Matt’s a buddy of mine, too. It’s a good relationship.”
If Bader – who currently holds the light heavyweight belt – can win his next two fights, he’ll become the first fighter in the history of Bellator to hold two belts simultaneously, Conor McGregor style.
At odds with The Notorious, however, is Badr’s plans to stay active, should he become the champ-champ.
“My plan is to win this belt and defend both,” he said in his post-fight interview.
As for King Mo, incredibly, he now plans to drop down to middleweight. Not long after the bout, he announced on Twitter that he would be making the shock move to two divisions lighter than he had just been fighting at.
“This is MMA. Things don’t always go the way you expected. Congratulations to @ryanbader for his big win tonight. He deserves it. Now, this being said, It’s now time for me to move to the Middleweight division #KingMoneyweight”
This is MMA. Things don't always go the way you expected. Congratulations to @ryanbader for his big win tonight. He deserves it. Now, this being said, It's now time for me to move to the Middleweight division #KingMoneyweight pic.twitter.com/KY49qbXTub
— King Muhammed (@KingMoFH) May 13, 2018
Badr vs Mitrione promises to be an huge clash. Who do you guys have in this one? Let us know in the comments!
WATCH THE FULL FIGHT ON THE PLAYER BELOW: