Muhammed Lawal victory brings out mo’ haters

Photo by: Esther Lin/Strikeforce - King Mo knocks out his fifth opponent.

Scarcely has there ever been a fighter so young in the sport take so much criticism as Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal. Whether it be his outspoken personality, his confidence (some say arrogance), or his flashy style, for some reason, the former NCAA national collegiate wrestling champion has an uncanny ability to polarize people.

Mo has consistently faced and beaten whoever the promotions have put in front of him without complaint. It seems people forget that fighters are not matchmakers. If certain critics had their way Mo would have fought Gegard Mousasi in his second or third fight.

Now think about that just for a second… even if the matchmakers wanted to make that fight, do you think Mousasi or his manager, at this stage of his career, would want him facing some new guy with only three fights? Sure it could make Mo a star overnight if he won, but it would ruin Mousasi if he lost.

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Scott Smith rallies from brink of defeat – again – to shock Cung Le; Gilbert Melendez regains Strikeforce title with win over Josh Thomson

Photo by Esther Lin / Strikeforce - Cung Le landing one of his many kicks

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Dec. 20, 2009) – No stranger to stirring comeback victories, Scott “Hands Of Steel” Smith rallied to knock out Cung Le, Gilbert Melendez regained the STRIKEFORCE lightweight world title in perhaps the Fight of the Year, and STRIKEFORCE newcomers “Jacare” Souza and “King Mo” Lawal triumphed impressively as STRIKEFORCE closed out an amazing year in spectacular fashion with an incredible fight card before 9,362 at HP Pavilion Saturday on SHOWTIME®.

After Melendez (17-2) of San Francisco earned a unanimous, five-round decision and avenged a loss to Josh Thomson (16-3), of San Jose, and Brazil’s Jacare (11-2) and King Mo (6-0), of Carlsbad, Calif., had  earlier scored first-round victories over Matt Lindland (21-7) of Oregon City, Ore., and Mike Whitehead, (24-7) of Las Vegas, respectively, Smith stormed back from the brink of defeat – again – to knock out the previously undefeated Le at 3:25 of the third round.

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“King Mo” vs. Mike Whitehead – “Strikeforce: Evolution” fight video

Here is “King Mo” Lawal’s Strikeforce debut against “Iron” Mike Whitehead. Prior to the fight, Whitehead didn’t seem to think much of Mo, and could not understand why so much attention was being paid to a guy with only five fights. All of Whitehead’s experience, extra weight, and training partners couldn’t help him once the … Read more

“Strikeforce: Evolution” recap: Melendez reclaims lightweight title, Smith stuns Le, and “King Mo” KO’s Whitehead

Photo: Sherdog - "Hands of Steel" is a perfect nickname, but "Cardiac Kid" would work too.

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Josh Thomson and Gilbert Melendez are no strangers to each other or five round wars. Another five round battle was in the cards for tonight’s “Strikeforce: Evolution” lightweight title bout, with both fighters throwing everything but the kitchen sink at each other as the bell sounded on the fifth and final round.

This time around, it was Gilbert Melendez that dominated the fight scoring a unanimous decision victory to regain the title that he lost to Thomson back in 2008.

Melendez (17-2) used his jab, often doubling up with it, to control the pace of the fight and utilized a stifling attack on his feet, dropping Thomson in the second and fifth rounds of the fight. Thomson battled back each time he found himself on his back, scrambling to his feet to stand in the pocket and trade bombs with “El Nino.” Melendez employed a very effective left hand, leg kick combo to set the pace in the later rounds, but both fighters were ineffective in their take down attempts.

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This is why the hype – “King Mo” knocks out veteran Mike Whitehead in first round at “Strikeforce: Evolution”

King Mo in the locker room prior to knocking out Mike Whitehead.

Mike Whitehead could not understand why King Mo has been getting all the hype. Now, do you think Whitehead understands “why the hype?”

The ultra-experienced Whitehead preferred to fight King Mo at heavyweight, and Mo, who said tonight he fights at “money weight,” gladly obliged the big man who out-weighed Mo by over 40 pounds.

Whitehead landed a few leg kicks in the fight but that was it. He threw some punches but all he hit was air. Mo landed some solid jabs and hooks before he landed a huge right hand that dropped Whitehead to the canvas, where he followed up with a few extra shots that knocked “Iron” Mike out cold at 3:08 of round one.

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“Strikeforce: Evolution” results and play-by-play commentary

SAN JOSE – This is it folks! Tonight’s the night for “Strikeforce: Evolution.” It is the promotion’s final card for 2009, and on paper at least, it may be their best of the year. The only down side is we’re only getting four fights on the televised main card since they couldn’t find an opponent for Robbie Lawler.’s Matt De La Rosa will be sitting ring side in the HP Pavilion, ready to bring you all the play-by-play commentary (and tweeting) you have come to expect from Google’s number one professional mixed martial arts website. The preliminary bouts begin at 7pm CT/5pm PT and the main card airs live on Showtime beginning at 9pm CT/7pm PT.

Quick Results:

  • Alex Crispim def. A.J. Fonseca by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Justin Wilcox def. Daisuke Nakamura by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
  • Antwain Britt def. Scott Lighty by TKO (doctor stoppage) Rd 1 (5:00)
  • Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal def. Mike Whitehead by KO (punches) Rd 1 (3:08)
  • Ronald “Jacare” Souza def. Matt Lindland by submission (arm triangle) Rd 1 (4:18)
  • Gilbert Melendez def. Josh Thomson by unanimous decision (49-47, 49-46, 49-46) Rd 5
  • Scott Smith def. Cung Le by KO (punches) Rd 3 (3:25)

Read more’s “Strikeforce: Evolution” staff picks

“Strikeforce: Evolution” takes place tonight, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009, at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. The main televised portion of this card is stacked with stars. It is a card that any true MMA fan should be thrilled with.

It was even better until Robbie Lawler got pulled off, but even still, it is more than solid. I wish it were five fights on the Showtime card instead of just four but, whaddaya gonna do? At least it’s free, right?

Well, the staff put our heads together once again to give our picks on who we think will win and why. We’re starting to develop some rivalries here, and from what I hear 2010 is gonna get downright competitive.

The one known as Richard Mann has called out Cageside Beat host Brian Furby and said, “Furby is going down this time.” As for Furby, he has remained quiet so far, and has preferred to let his intricate knowledge of the sport do his talking up to this point. He went a perfect 5-0 at UFC 107, and will be looking for a repeat performance. The Info co-host “Fast Eddie” has been sidelined for awhile but will be looking to bounce back with some correct picks of his own this time. Without further ado, let’s get it on fellers!

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Six questions with undefeated “King Mo” Lawal

Photo by - King Mo Lawal prepares for his Strikeforce debut against Mike Whitehead.

SAN JOSE, Calif., (Dec. 16, 2009) – Undefeated “King Mo” Lawal will make his STRIKEFORCE debut and only his second mixed martial arts MMA appearance in the United States when he meets two-time NAIA wrestling All-American “Iron” Mike Whitehead in one of five televised fights on  SHOWTIME® on Saturday, Dec. 19, from the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.

Lawal, a former three-time U.S. Senior National wrestling champion and former NCAA National collegiate wrestling champion (Central Oklahoma), recently signed a multi-fight agreement with STRIKEFORCE. He has been training in Southern California with fellow STRIKEFORCE competitors Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Benji Radach, and Fabricio Werdum, among others.

In his last fight, King Mo dusted aside MMA legend Mark Kerr in 25 seconds on Aug. 28. The charismatic, outspoken 28-year-old Lawal, whose public feud with Quinton “Rampage” Jackson has been well-documented, is currently living in Temecula, Calif., by way of Murfreesboro, Tenn.

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Wand Fight Team: Wanderlei Silva talks UFC 110 bout with Bisping and Mike Whitehead discusses upcoming bout with King Mo

Wanderlei Silva talks about his upcoming fight with Michael Bisping, scheduled for Feb. 21, at UFC 110 in Sydney, Australia. Silva wants to “kick his ass” and realizes it is a very important fight. Silva has lost five of his last six fights (all against top tier opponents) and desperately needs the victory. If he … Read more