“King” Mo Lawal was successful in his Bellator debut, beating Przemyslaw Mysiala via first-round knockout.
Lawal's Bellator debut was hyped very thoroughly. The former Strikeforce champion appeared in many of the advertisements that plugged Bellator's move to Spike TV, and he was the subject of an hour-long documentary following last week's card, which explored his recovery from a near-fatal staph infection and his transition from Zuffa also-ran to Bellator superstar and professional wrestler.
All that hype, in combination with his wins over the likes of Gegard Mousasi, Roger Gracie and Lorenz Larkin made it hard to give Mysiala a chance.
Mysiala, in spite of his serviceable 16-7 record fighting on the European MMA scene, was clearly an easy opponent for Lawal. Six of his seven losses have come via knockout, and Lawal is a finisher, and Lawal is a nightmare matchup for him stylistically.
Lawal threw jab after jab, catching Mysiala again and again. As Mysiala slowed from the constant punishment, he threw a combination. Lawal found his chin, and put the Pole onto his back. The ref quickly stepped in and waved the fight to a close.
While both Lawal and Bellator big wig Bjorn Rebney are both certainly pleased with the results, the fight was not an especially amazing performance by the former Strikeforce champion. Lawal never shot for a takedown (a serious concern, given his previous knee troubles), and his stand-up, though effective, was technically questionable as he frequently dropped his guard and left his head exposed.
Still, Lawal remains the favorite in the tournament and will almost certainly become the Bellator light heavyweight champ with little resistance.