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With three straight losses, Muhammed Lawal has decided to bring down the curtain on his remarkable career. For his swan song, the former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion will throw down with the unheralded Andrew Kapel, who is on a four-fight winning streak. As they collide in Thackerville, Oklahoma, for Bellator 233, here are some numbers relevant to their respective careers.
Main event appearancesExperience certainly belongs to Lawal. Once regarded as one of the top prospects at light heavyweight, he has fought high-level opponents in Bellator, Rizin, Strikeforce and M-1 Global. In fact, he has been in the main event a staggering 11 times in his 31-fight career. The events which “King Mo” headlined were Bellator 199, Bellator 175, Bellator 169, Bellator 154, Bellator 120, Rizin 15, Rizin 3, Rizin - Iza No Mai, Strikeforce - Houston, M-1 Global - Breakthrough and Sengoku - Seventh Battle.
Kapel may not be as big a name as Lawal but he’s no stranger to main events. He has been in the main event six times, albeit in smaller promotions. The Elevation Fight Team standout headlined Victory Fighting Championship, EB - Beatdown at 4 Bears 12, Brutaal Fight Night, Madtown Throwdown 18 and Hoosier Fight Club twice.
Bellator experienceAs Kapel makes his promotional debut, Lawal will climb into the Bellator cage for the 16th time in his career. It all started at Bellator 86, when he knocked out Przemyslaw Mysiala in the first round. Since then, he has faced some of the finest at light heavyweight and heavyweight, including Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Ryan Bader, Phil Davis, Emanuel Newton and Liam McGeary. He won the 2013 Bellator Summer Series light heavyweight tournament and challenged for the title once.
Knockout rateAs always, Lawal will be bringing some dynamite in his fists. The pride of American Top Team owns 13 wins via KO or TKO, making for a 62 percent knockout rate. In addition to victimizing Dustin Jacoby and Joe Vedepo in Bellator competition, he has also starched the likes of Roger Gracie, Seth Petruzelli and Mark Kerr. Meanwhile, Kapel has only scored three victories by KO or TKO, which translates to a 21 percent knockout rate.
Submission rateKapel is a lot more likely to slap on a submission than Lawal, who in fact has never won by any lock or choke. Kapel, for his part, is the owner of 10 submission wins, making for a 71 percent submission rate. Three of his last four victories have come via rear-naked choke.
Career lossesLawal has suffered nine losses in total, six of which were by knockout and three of which were by decision. All of his defeats have come at the hands of high-level opponents, namely Rafael Cavalcante, Newton twice, Rampage, Davis, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, Bader, McGeary and, most recently, Jiri Prochazka.
Kapel, meanwhile, has lost six times, though not to a “who’s who” of MMA’s finest. Kapel has lost five times by submission and once by decision. His highest profile conqueror is former Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Smith, who dealt Kapel one of his five submission losses.