It took a bit longer than initially expected, but Muhammed Lawal is now one win away from becoming the Bellator MMA light heavyweight champion.
At Bellator 97 on Wednesday, "King Mo" steamrolled Jacob Noe with ground-and-pound to win a four-man light heavyweight tournament that took place over the Bellator MMA Summer Series. Lawal took Noe down with ease over three rounds before eventually stopping his bloodied opponent with a few unanswered blows at 2:51 of the final stanza.
After beating Noe, Lawal is now second in line for a 205-pound title shot behind Emanuel Newton. Many expected Lawal to be lined up for a championship bout months ago, but he was stunned by a Newton spinning backfist in February.
The current Bellator MMA light heavyweight titleholder is Attila Vegh, who has already defeated Newton via split decision. While a rematch between the two should now be expected, no date has been set for the matchup.
Not wanting to wait too long to wear an official MMA crown, King Mo stated his willingness to rematch Newton during the Bellator 97 telecast on Spike TV.
Should Lawal have to sit on the sidelines and await the winner of Vegh vs. Newton, he does have other options. The 32-year-old has a deal with another Spike TV property, TNA Impact Wrestling. While his appearances with the organization have been few and far between thus far, Lawal may now have a chance to focus on his pro wrestling career in between MMA training camps.
Sean Smith is a Featured MMA Columnist for Bleacher Report who has also had work promoted on UFC.com and TheMMACorner.com.