Muhammed Lawal will return to the Bellator cage on Feb. 21, when “King Mo” faces Emanuel Newton in a Season 8 light heavyweight tournament semifinal at Bellator 90.
Bellator announced the pairing Tuesday, revealing that the 205-pound contest will join the Spike TV broadcast alongside a featherweight headliner between Season 7 finalists Rad Martinez and Shahbulat Shamhalaev. Bellator 90 takes place at Maverik Center in Salt Lake City and marks the promotion’s inaugural trip to the state of Utah.
Lawal performed impressively in his Bellator debut last Thursday against Polish talent Przemyslaw Mysiala, finishing his opponent with a beautiful right hook just 3:52 into the first frame. Widely regarded as a heavy favorite to win Bellator’s Season 8 tournament, the former Strikeforce champion has tasted defeat just once in 10 pro outings and has stopped seven of his nine career victims by way of knockout.
Newton advanced to the tournament semifinals by submitting Atanas Djambazov with a second-round rear-naked choke on Jan. 17. This marks the Californian’s second run at capturing Bellator gold, as he was previously ousted in the Summer Series semis by eventual tournament winner Attila Vegh. A former Maximum Fighting Championship titlist, Newton has won seven of his last eight fights and owns eight submission victories to his credit in nine years of competition.