In therein event of Bellator 169 American Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal (20-5, 1 NC) lived up to the name of the king of the money weight when he bested Olympic Gold Medalist Satoshi Ishii (14-7-1) this time at heavyweight. Lawal managed avoided Ishii’s crafty throws while scoring takedowns to shutout his Japanese opponent en route to unanimous decision victory (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Following another impressive performance under the Bellator umbrella, Laval is now set to end 2016 in style by repeating his domination over Rizin Fighting Federation opponents, when the 2015 eight-man Rizin heavyweight tournament winner returns to grand prix action during the Japanese-based promotion’s New Year’s Eve weekend of events.
Fresh off his victory in Dublin tonight, Lawal now sets his sights on the fellow contestants competing in the quarterfinals of the open-weight grand prix on Dec. 29 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan – the semifinals and finals are set for Dec. 31.
The 35-year-old former Strikeforce Champion defeated Brett McDermott, Teodoras Aukstuolis and Jiri Prochazka en route to winning the heavyweight tournament last year, now the “King” looks to retain his crown against the likes of: Shane Carwin, Amir Aliakbari, Mirko Filipovic, Kaido Hoovelson, Tsuyoshi Kosaka, Valentin Moldavsky, and Szymon Bajor.
With a second tournament victory in Japan, “King Mo” would cap off a stellar 2016 campaign, a 365-day run where in addition to Ishii, the American Top Team standout took current Bellator MMA Light Heavyweight Champion Phil Davis to the limit during their “Bellator 154” tussle back in May.
Gallagher scores 3rd round submission in co-main event
In what many considered “the people’s main event,” the highly touted SBG prospect James Gallagher (5-0) kept his composure through the first two hard fought rounds against Anthony Taylor (1-2). The American threw several powerful strikes, connecting on multiple occasions as Gallagher fought from safe range. Not long after the start of the final round the “Strabanimal” took the back of “Pretty Boy” Taylor with a body triangle actively looking to find a choke. It looked as though Taylor had it under control, walking across the cage toward his corner, pandering to the camera with a smile but seconds later, he was on his stomach, where he succumbed to a rear naked choke at 1:52 of round three. At the time of the stoppage, the judges were split with the cards reading 20-18, 18-20 and 19-19 after the first two rounds.
Kavanagh impresses to the delight of hometown fans
Sinead Kavanagh (4-0) was determined to put one on the board for the home team and that’s exactly what she did when she defeated Elina Kallionidou (5-1) by unanimous decision (30-25, 30-26, 30-27). Kavanagh stalked the Greek regional champion around the cage and scored on a great deal of combinations up against the fence. Kallionidou showed impressive resiliance, toughing out firestorm after firestorm of punches and bouncing back as though unfazed.
Weichel makes quick work of Moore to stake claim for title shot
The crowd were at their loudest in the hope they could propel countryman Brian “Pikeman” Moore (9-5) to victory against Daniel Weichel (38-9). Moore looked sharp on his feet, throwing crisp jabs before getting taken to the canvas. From the ground, Moore fought off several rear-naked choke attempts before rolling into a triangle choke 4:44 into the first frame, making it 0-2 for the Irish-born fighters to start the card.
Else stuns partisan crowd with KO win over Tukes
An electric Irish partisan crowd was on hand at the 3Arena in Dublin, but it didn’t take long for Great Britan’s Cameron Else (4-3) to silence them all with a jaw-dropping knockout victory over the highly-touted hometown fighter Dylan Tuke (3-1) only 20 seconds into round one.