by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
A combination of power and submissions kicked off the latest Strikeforce card on Showtime as Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza made quick work of Matt Lindland with a head and arm choke, while “King Mo” Lawal crowned Mike Whitehead with a first round TKO to pick up his first Strikeforce win as well.
It seemed destined for a ground fight as Abu Dhabi champion, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza faced U.S. Olympic silver medalist wrestler, Matt Lindland, and ground action is exactly what happened with Jacare getting a slick submission win in his first Strikeforce contest.
After showing some much improved stand-up, Jacare baited Lindland into the takedown and as soon as the fight hit the mat, the grappling wizard put on a clinic. Transitioning from an armbar to an omoplata, and eventually landing in top control on Lindland.
It was a seemless move to watch Jacare slip from side control and then lock on a head and arm choke that caught Lindland in the perfect position for the finish. The Team Quest fighter struggled for a minute before tapping out, handing Jacare the win and putting him one step closer to a shot at the Strikeforce middleweight title.
“Strikeforce is my new home now,” Jacare said in his post fight interview. “Jiu-Jitsu is what I came from, but I’m training MMA, I’m getting ready for everything.”
They call him the King for a reason as Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal kept his record perfect with a first round destruction of veteran, Mike Whitehead, to kick off the Strikeforce card on Showtime Saturday night.
For a fighter with tremendous wrestling pedigree, King Mo never once looked to shoot in on his opponent, instead relying on his tremendous punching power to make Whitehead pay. While the former “Ultimate Fighter” competitor seemed to have his gameplan set early to punish Lawal’s legs with kicks, he left his head open at just the wrong moment.
As Whitehead came forward, Lawal unloaded a huge right hand that sent him crashing to the mat. Before Whitehead knew what happened, King Mo was on him reigning down punches as the referee swooped in for the save. Following the win, King Mo gave his trainers the credit for his quick advance in the sport of MMA.
“I’ve got the best coaches out here you can get and they taught me all I know,” Lawal said after the win about his trainers.
Fighting at heavyweight on Saturday night, Lawal says he wouldn’t back down from the challenge as long as the paycheck was right.
“I’m a money weight, I don’t care man, throw somebody in front of me,” Lawal commented. “I’m a money weight…I fight where the money at.”