With a first round KO against Roger Gracie at last night’s Strikeforce event in Ohio, former 205lb champion Muhammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal got right back on track in the division after a 13 month absence.
So what comes next for Lawal?
It could be argued that ‘King Mo’ is now the No.1 contender in Strikeforce’s light-heavyweight division and that would lead to a fight with current champion Dan Henderson.
While that sounds like a great fight the problem is that Henderson is now a free agent and all signs point to him returning to the UFC.
If the belt is left vacant then Lawal is almost certain to be involved in a bout to establish the next champion, but against who?
At this moment in time the Strikeforce 205lb roster isn’t particularly deep so it’s likely to be one of two men he’s previously fought – Gegard Mousasi who he took the title from back in April of last year, or Rafael ‘Feijao’ Cavalcante who he lost it to just a few months later.
Since his loss to King Mo, Mousasi has picked up three wins in Japan fighting for DREAM, becoming their light-heavyweight champion in the process, but his only fight for Strikeforce ended in a controversial draw to Keith Jardine.
Mousasi is currently scheduled to fight at Strikeforce’s final show of the year in December but doesn’t yet have an opponent so that could be a good time for a rematch between the two.
King Mo himself stated after the show that he is more interested in avenging his loss to ‘Feijao’ however, and after the Brazilian picked up a KO win of his own last night that would also work.
Strikeforce don’t seem to be pushing Feijao too hard though considering that he was dropped into the prelims last night for his first bout back since losing his title to Henderson in March.
So which is best?
Personally I’d actually like to see Mousasi take on Feijao in December since they have never fought each other before, and then have the winner fight King Mo for the title (assuming Hendo is on his way out) in early 2012.
Alternatively if Zuffa don’t want to have King Mo sitting on the shelf for that amount of time then scheduling wise it makes sense to go with the rematch against Mousasi for the title while Feijao takes on someone like Mike Kyle or Ovince St.Preux to keep him occupied in the mean time.
Regardless of how this next fight works out I don’t expect to see Lawal in Strikeforce in the long term as he seems destined to make the switch to the UFC’s much deeper light-heavyweight division sooner rather than later.