Bellator 90 took place last night and it featured arguably the upset of the year so far.
The event played host to potentially the promotion’s biggest star, former Strikeforce 205lb champion Muhammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal who was taking on Emanuel Newton in the semi-finals of Bellator’s light-heavyweight tournament, and despite being the clear favorite things didn’t go according to plan.
Mid-way through the first round the two men exchanged punches and after missing with a hook ‘King Mo’ left his hand low and was caught by a back-fist from Newton that instantly knocked him out, toppled him to the canvas in slow-motion.
Bellator had been hoping to build ‘King Mo’ into a major draw on Spike TV, even allowing him to compete in TNA wrestling to help widen his appeal, but both the result last night and particularly the definitive nature of the finish leaves those plans in tatters.
‘King Mo’ had spent a lot of time training with famed boxing coach Jeff Mayweather which on paper seemed like a good move.
However, as I’ve noted in the past when previewing his fights, ‘King Mo’ has always tended to be over-confident in his striking, adopting the same stylized boxing stance with one hand held low that boxing greats like Floyd Mayweather Jr and Roy Jones Jr have successfully adopted in the past, but that takes a great deal of skill to pull off and isn’t particularly suited to the nature of MMA combat.
Elsewhere on the card Shahbulat Shamhalaev won the featherweight tournament with a very nice overhand right KO in the second round against Rad Martinez after initially hurting him with a head kick.
Douglas Lima also stopped Bryan Baker with a similar overhand right to the one in the fight above to book his place in the welterweight tournament final where he’ll face off against Ben Saunders who produced a perfectly placed head kick KO to defeat Raul Amaya.
All in all a great night of finishes for Bellator, but it’s ‘King Mo’s’ loss that’s going to stick in people’s minds.
Shahbulat Shamhalaev vs. Rad Martinez via KO at 2:12 of round 2
Emanuel Newton def. King Mo by KO at 2:33 of round 1
Douglas Lima def. Bryan Baker via TKO (strikes) at 2:34 of round 1
Mikhail Zayats def. Jacob Noe via submission (armbar) at 3:38 of round 1
Ben Saunders def. Raul Amaya via KO (head kick) at 2:56 of round 1
Lionel Lanham def. Joe Rodriguez via KO (punches) at :49 of round 1
Sean Powers def. David Allred via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:10 of round 3
Jesse Juarez def. Jordan Smith via split decision (29-28 Juarez, 29-28 Smith, 30-27 Juarez)
Travis Marx def. Chase Beebe via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)