Return of the King!
King Mo Lawal stepped into the cage tonight, at Bellator 96
with the memories of a spinning back fist lingering in his subconscious. A not so distant moment in time, played via
loop on every highlight show, gifs immortalizing his most forgettable moment, a
low dull buzz in what would otherwise be a symphony of violence. It was
one of those rare moments when it was all on the line. He would not disappoint.
King Mo is a talented fighter, with a ton of upside to go
with his world class wrestling pedigree.
His stand up is improving, his overall MMA game has been getting better
and better. Tonight he had an opportunity
to challenge Seth Petruzelli, and in turn, challenge all those who felt he was
done. Those who said he was “overrated”,
“exposed”, and “not that good”. He took
full advantage of that opportunity.
It had been four long months since Emanuel Newton knocked out Mo with a
spinning back fist in the first round of their fight at Bellator 90. During that time, he had not only been
training hard for his MMA career, but he’s been training for a career in
professional wrestling, under the TNA banner.
He made his in ring wrestling debut recently, and that split in time,
and training, had many worried about his commitment to MMA, and his future in
the sport. Like so many other fighters
who suffered defeat, fans were quick to write Mo off.
He and Seth Petruzelli, Kimbo Slice legend killer, were set
to meet in the semifinals of the Bellator Light Heavyweight tournament. In the other semifinal, Jacob Noe defeated a
slow of foot “Babalu” Sobral, after which Babalu retired in the cage. So whoever won between Seth and Mo would meet
Noe in the finals. The bell rang to open
the frame, and the fight started quick.
The two men stood, traded some jabs, low kicks and Seth and
Mo seemed to both dive/flop in for a takedown, clashing heads. Seth needed a moment to clear the cobwebs,
and the fight was restarted moments later.
Mo eventually took the fight to the mat, and tried to land some ground
and pound, but Seth used his guard to keep Mo at distance. King Mo, grabbed the legs throwing them to
the side, lunged in and delivered a HUGE right hand, separating Seth from his
senses and winning a “Walk Off” Ground and Pound right hand.
For Lawal, it had to be a moment of excitement, to leave
that spinning back fist in the mist, and replace that highlight with another
one. The fans and media alike were quick
to respond with “King Mo is back.” King
Mo never left. He was not exposed. Overrated.
Etc. He’s a pro fighter, and pro
fighters get caught. It happens to
everyone, and it’s not so much a status of their place in their career as it is
a test to see if they can come back from adversity. Tonight King Mo came back from that
adversity, and did so in a big way.
Be careful though, don’t call it a comeback, King Mo never went anywhere. He’s just been waiting for the chance to swap
one highlight, for another.