Joe Vedepo is only weeks removed from his last Bellator appearance. | Photo: Keith Mills/Sherdog.com
With Tom DeBlass unable to compete after suffering a severe cut in training, “King” Mo Lawal will now tangle with short-notice opponent Joe Vedepo at Bellator 131.
Bellator MMA officials announced the light heavyweight matchup on Monday. Bellator 131 “Tito vs. Bonnar” takes place Nov. 15 at Valley View Casino Center in San Diego and is headlined by a light heavyweight bout between UFC veterans Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar. A lightweight title fight between interim champion Will Brooks and former titlist Michael Chandler will serve as the co-main event.
Vedepo will make a quick turnaround -- and a move up the scale -- after competing on Oct. 17 in a middleweight contest at Bellator 129. The 32-year-old Iowan scored a third-round stoppage of Davin Clark at that event, bringing Vedepo’s 2014 record to 3-0, with all three wins inside the Bellator cage.
“When I got the phone call to fight on November 15, I didn’t even need to hear who the opponent was, I was all in,” Vedepo stated in a release. “Mo’s tough as hell, he’s one of the best wrestlers in the sport, but I haven’t stopped training in months and I know this is a chance of a lifetime. I always thrive on coming into the fight as an underdog, and while I have all the respect in the world for a guy like King Mo, underestimating what I bring to the cage would be a huge mistake.”
Lawal, 33, has had an up-and-down year, with a decision loss to Quinton Jackson sandwiched by victories over Mikhail Zayats and Dustin Jacoby. The former Strikeforce champ was originally slated to face DeBlass at September’s Bellator 123, but DeBlass withdrew from that matchup due to a knee injury.
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