‘King Mo’ Thinks He Might Have to Chase Phil Davis in Bellator 154 Headliner

By Tristen Critchfield May 12, 2016
On a personal level, Muhammed Lawal doesn’t have any real animosity toward Phil Davis.

The two light heavyweights will square off in the Bellator 154 headliner on Saturday night at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., with a future shot at reigning 205-pound champion Liam McGeary on the line. Over the years, “King Mo” has had plenty of interactions with the former UFC talent.

“I’ve known Phil for a while, he’s a cool dude. A little weird, but he’s cool,” Lawal told Sherdog.com. “More laid back, just relaxed. Nothing negative to say about him.”

However, when it comes to their upcoming showdown, Lawal is more than confident about his ability to get the best of “Mr. Wonderful” wherever the fight may go. That includes wrestling, even though Davis was a national champion and four-time All-American at Penn State University. Lawal was no slouch himself. The American Top Team product was a Division II national champion at the University of Central Oklahoma before going on to capture All-American status at Oklahoma State University.

Lawal’s experience in that discipline extends beyond college, however, as he won the Senior U.S. national championship three times, represented his country at the World Wrestling Championships in 2005 and narrowly missed a spot on the 2008 Olympic team.

“I think I do [have an advantage],” Lawal said. “I competed a little longer in wrestling and I wrestled at a higher level. People don’t realize, but he has probably the collegiate experience, but I have a higher pedigree of wrestling than he does.”

If Davis is unable to take his man down, Lawal anticipates that it could be a long evening for the Alliance MMA representative.

“What do you think? It’s gonna be me chasing him, trying to put my hands on him. That’s about it,” Lawal said.

“I’ll have to walk him down. Because he’s actually not a seek and destroy fighter…he’s a move, move, move…gotcha [fighter]. I’m a seek and destroy fighter,” Lawal continued. “He’s not one. He uses his game plan. His game plan is solid. He fights with brains and finds ways to use grappling and stuff like that.”

Davis and Lawal were supposed to square off in the finals of the one-night light heavyweight tournament at Bellator 142 “Dynamite,” but Lawal was unable to continue after his semifinal triumph over Linton Vassell due to a rib injury. Davis ended up winning the whole thing thanks to first-round stoppages of Francis Carmont and Emanuel Newton.

Lawal nonetheless enters the matchup with plenty of momentum, as his current seven-fight winning streak includes three victories in Rizin Fighting Federation’s eight-man heavyweight grand prix at the end of 2015. “King Mo” isn’t surprised that his recent achievement has flown somewhat under the radar.

“Once I beat them, they were bums. It is what it is. I don’t really care,” he said. “People don’t like me. If it was anybody else, they would’ve gotten credit, but people just don’t like me. I’m cool with it. I don’t care.”

After nearly three years in Bellator MMA, Lawal is fully recovered from the staph infection that hindered him early in his promotional tenure. The championship he was expected to claim upon joining the organization is within his grasp, but Lawal remains confident he could contend a weight class above, as well.

“It’s [the title] important,” he said. “I just don’t care, to me it’s another weight class. Is it gonna be heavyweight or 205? I don’t know what is next for me, but if I’m gonna be healthy I’m open to fighting at heavyweight too.”

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