Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal met in the Bellator 175 main event in Chicago on Friday night. The rematch between the two was similar to their first bout, only it ended in a reverse fashion.
Jackson won a unanimous decision in their first, light heavyweight showdown, but that wouldn’t be the case in the rematch, which was contested at heavyweight. While Lawal came in at 212 pounds, Jackson was a bulky 253 pounds when he stepped on the scale. Thosee extra pounds appeared to weigh heavily against Jackson as the fight wore on.
The first round was all Lawal’s. He wasted no time taking control of the fight, immediately pressing forward, driving Jackson backward. Lawal had difficultly getting Jackson to the canvas, but was the busier fighter, constantly putting the pressure on Jackson and avoiding any of the bigger man’s power punches.
It looked like Lawal would keep his strategy working in round two, but like Jackson told him before the fight, the game plan goes out the window when you get hit, and Jackson hit Lawal hard.
Lawal kept pressing and working his pressure strategy through the first half of the second frame, but then Jackson caught him with a left hook that sent him backpedaling. Jackson swarmed and landed a few more shots, but Lawal found a way to survive the round.
In the final frame, Lawal went back to the game plan and turned up the pressure. He drove forward, trying to secure the takedown, but had to settle for pressing Jackson to the fence. Though he had trouble securing the takedown, Lawal did a good job staying busy, working hooks to the body much more effectively than he had earlier in the fight.
Even when they separated off the fence, Lawal was busier with his stand-up in the last round than he was earlier, looking as if he realized that Jackson was tiring and losing his knockout steam.
The fight ended in a flurry of punches, but neither fighter landed clean.
Lawal turned the tables on their first fight, walking away with a unanimous-decision victory in the rematch.
After the victory, new Bellator signee Ryan Bader was brought to the cage, where he was announced as Lawal’s next opponent.
Lawal and Bader will headline Bellator 180 on Spike, which serves as a lead-in to the Bellator NYC: Sonnen vs. Silva pay-per-view on June 24 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Emmanuel Sanchez, despite missing weight by 3.5 pounds, took the fight to former Bellator bantamweight champion Marcos Galvao in their featherweight co-main event. Though he didn’t do much damage, Sanchez was the busier fighter the entire bout, constantly pressing forward and keeping Galvao on the back foot.
Although Galvao tried several times, he couldn’t take Sanchez down to the canvas, which is his playground. Sanchez stuffed all of Galvao’s attempts, save for one final shot just before the final bell.
Outdoing Galvao on the feet with a stinging jab and several front kicks to the face, Sanchez earned a unanimous decision.
After the fight, Sanchez proclaimed that he had earned a shot at the featherweight belt currently around Daniel Straus’ waist, but he may want to make weight first.
In earlier action, Sergei Kharitonov, nearing two decades in the sport, made quick work of Chase Gormley with an uppercut knockout less than four minutes into the fight. Noad Lahat submitted Lloyd Carter in the second round of their bout. And Steve Kozola opened the main card with a don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-it, 28-second knockout of Jake Roberts.
Bellator 175: Rampage vs. King Mo Results
- Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal def. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Emmanuel Sanchez def. Marcos Galvao via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Sergei Kharitonov def. Chase Gormley via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 3:55
- Noad Lahat def. Lloyd Carter via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 3:50
- Steve Kozola def. Jake Roberts via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 0:28
- Joaquin Buckley def. Justin Patterson via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Tim Cho def. Joshua Hardwick via TKO (punches) at 2:43, R3
- Manny Vazquez def. Nate Williams via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-27, 29-28)
- James Bochnovic def. Matt Paul via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:30, R1
- Damian Norris def. Tom Shoaff via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Mike DeLaVega def. Brian Akins via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
(Photos courtesy of Bellator MMA)