Quinton Jackson gets a homecoming fight against Muhammed Lawal at Bellator 120. The organization has announced that “Rampage”, a Memphis native, will meet “King Mo” in the co-main event of their first ever pay-per-view offering on May 17. The Landers Center in nearby Southaven, Mississippi will host the event. The card will be headlined by the highly anticipated trilogy fight between current lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and former champion Michael Chandler.
Jackson has looked impressive in his two Bellator appearances earning first round stoppages against Joey Beltran and former champion Christian M’Pumbu. He advanced to the light-heavyweight tournament final thanks to some ferocious ground-and-pound that finished M’Pumbu at Bellator 110.
The former UFC light-heavyweight champion says he’s feeling like his old self and believes that will translate into bad news for Lawal come fight night. He’s excited about the prospects of putting on an entertaining performance in his first fight back in the Memphis area in over a decade. Jackson has 16 career knockouts and he will definitely test Lawal’s chin with that power.
As for Lawal, “King Mo” hasn’t lived up to the hype under the Bellator banner. The former Strikeforce champion advanced to the final against “Rampage” by earning a unanimous decision victory in a rather dull affair against Mikhail Zayats. Lawal is 4-2 with the promotion having surprisingly lost twice to Emanuel Newton.
Lawal has looked devastating in victories over Seth Petruzelli and Jacob Noe but at other times has been tentative and seemingly disinterested. “King Mo” has power with 9 knockouts in 12 career wins and also possesses a strong wrestling background. His biggest career victory was over Gegard Mousasi to capture the Strikeforce belt back in 2010. Lawal says the fight against Jackson is one that he’s wanted for a long time and will earn respect by beating him to secure a title shot.
This is clearly the best matchup that Bellator was hoping for in the Season 10 light-heavyweight tournament finale as Jackson and Lawal have had an on and off running feud for the last few years. They attempted to ramp up the hype for the upcoming contest by getting involved in an in-cage melee during Jackson’s post-fight interview after his tournament semi-final victory.
While Jackson’s best days are clearly behind him, he’s fared the better of the two fighters in Bellator to this point. Jackson had originally been targeted to face Tito Ortiz back in November in the promotion’s first ever pay-per-view offering but those plans were scuttled when Ortiz suffered a neck injury. He now gets to test his skills against Lawal in what has the makings to be an entertaining affair.
However, it will all depend on whether “King Mo” backs up his talk with actions on May 17. He should have plenty left in the tank in the wake of his last uninspiring fight, there’s no doubt Jackson will be looking to add another highlight-reel knockout to his resume.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports