Bellator 131’s ‘King Mo’ Still Has Title Hopes, Open to Taking Fights at Heavyweight

By Tristen Critchfield Nov 5, 2014
“King Mo” has ideas on moving up the scale. | Photo: Keith Mills/

When Muhammed Lawal first got the call informing him that Tom DeBlass had withdrawn from their fight at Bellator 131, the former Strikeforce champion thought his manager was trying to pull a fast one on him.

“I thought it was a joke when my manager texted me that night,” Lawal told “He was like ‘Mo, DeBlass got cut.’ I was like, Cut? Why did they cut him? He said, ‘No, he got cut by a head butt.’ I’m like, ‘What the hell?’ I saw a picture of it. That’s crazy.”

DeBlass and “King Mo” were initially scheduled to lock horns at Bellator 123, but an injury also forced the Ricardo Almeida Jiu-Jitsu product to pull out of that bout. This time, DeBlass suffered a nasty gash above his right eye that left him unable to compete on Nov. 15.

“He’s just cursed,” Lawal said. “I guess his training partner head butted him; it’s a freak deal. He’s a cool guy. I’ve got no problem with him. I just want to whip his ass. I guess that won’t happen.”

Instead, Lawal will face short-notice foe Joe Vedepo at Bellator 131 at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego. The bout is part of the Spike TV-televised main card, which begins at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT. The last-minute change won’t alter Lawal’s game plan

“What can I change? I was training for Tom DeBlass. I was going to improve everything I already do; just be sharp and be smart,” he said. “That’s all I can do for this fight.”

While Vedepo, a natural middleweight, is the one moving up to face Lawal, “King Mo” wouldn’t mind testing himself in Bellator’s heavyweight division someday. He first hinted at the possibility following his second-round stoppage of Dustin Jacoby at Bellator 123 on Sept. 5. It was then that Lawal professed his desire to compete at “moneyweight,” whether that be heavyweight, light heavyweight or middleweight.

Lawal doesn’t back down from that statement now, especially when it comes to moving up a division. The American Top Team product began his career fighting bigger men, including Mike Whitehead in the Scott Coker-led Strikeforce promotion in 2009.

“They [Bellator officials] already know,” Lawal said. “They know if they need to call me to fight up a weight class, I will. It’s not a big deal. I have no problem fighting heavyweights at all.”

Lawal has experienced mixed results during his Bellator tenure at light heavyweight thus far, including a pair of losses to reigning 205-pound king Emanuel Newton and a controversial setback against Quinton Jackson at Bellator 123. While he isn’t picky when it comes to surveying the landscape for future opponents after Vedepo, Lawal nonetheless has lofty goals for the coming year.

“I want ‘em all,” he said. “I want the belt. I want it all. I want everything; I want to be greedy.”


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