‘King Mo’ Lawal Says He’s Moving to Middleweight Division After Bellator 199 Defeat

By Tristen Critchfield May 13, 2018


Things didn’t go at all as planned for Muhammed Lawal at Bellator 199.

Lawal’s run in the promotion’s heavyweight grand prix came to an abrupt end in Saturday’s headliner at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., as he was knocked out by Ryan Bader in just 15 seconds. “King Mo” has always been about competing at “moneyweight,” but it now appears that he will be making a legitimate move to a division where he won’t consistently be at a size disadvantage.

“This is MMA. Things don’t always go the way you expected,” Lawal wrote on Instagram. “Congratulations to [Ryan Bader] for his big win tonight. He deserves it.

“Now this being said, it’s time for me to move to the middleweight division. Yeah you read it fight. 185 [pounds].”

Lawal’s primary home since beginning his MMA career has been light heavyweight, and he won the Strikeforce 205-pound title with five-round verdict over Gegard Mousasi in April 2010. The former NCAA All-American wrestler at Oklahoma State University has also dabbled at heavyweight over the years with some success, earning victories over the likes of Cheick Kongo, Satoshi Ishii, Quinton Jackson, Mark Kerr and Travis Wiuff.

Still, Lawal isn’t especially large for a light heavyweight, so a move down could prove to be beneficial. Including his loss to Bader, the 37-year-old American Top Team representative is 2-3 in his last five bouts, four of which have occurred at heavyweight.

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