Wednesday, Dec 01, 2010
“King Mo” Lawal Expecting March / April Return
By Kelsey Mowatt
While Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal will end his 2010 campaign on the sidelines, and without the Strikeforce light-heavyweight title, the former champ’s year is coming to a close with some good news to report. Lawal is recovering faster than expected from the surgery he underwent this past summer, to repair the knee he injured during his TKO loss to Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante on August 23rd.
“Oh man, everything’s great. This aint no interview great or you know how people just say ‘I’m one hundred percent,’ this is for real. My knee is good; I’m hoping to be back in March or April,” said Lawal, who originally was expected to be sidelined until next summer. “That’s how confident I am.”
While Lawal is no stranger to knee injuries, the accomplished wrestler was able to fight eight times in just under 24 months, after beginning his pro MMA career in September, 2008. This time, however, the injury required surgery to replace both the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments in his left knee.
“Last time I had surgery I think I came back a little too soon,” Lawal told FCF. “I think that weakened my knee. When I fought Mike Whitehead, Mark Kerr, (Gegard) Mousasi, I think my knee was getting weaker and weaker.”
After utilizing his wrestling to dominate Mousasi through five rounds for the Strikeforce championship in April, Lawal demonstrated again why he’s widely considered to be one of the sport’s fastest rising commodities. While most observers expected Cavalcante to present Lawal a significant and serious challenge in August, many were surprised to see not only Lawal lose to Cavalcante, but how he performed during the bout.
“Here’s the thing, my biggest weapons in MMA are my feet, my movement and my takedowns,” Lawal stated, when asked to discuss the impact the knee injury had on his performance that night. “I couldn’t really move like I wanted to. I didn’t really try to take Feijao down; I didn’t really shoot on any open shots because I knew I was hurt.”
“Other than that single leg I was working and he was elbowing me in the head, that was the only time I really shot,” Lawal added. “I didn’t shoot any double legs because I couldn’t bring my trail leg up, which is my left leg, to finish any takedowns. Even when I threw a jab, it felt funny, I could feel my knee was giving.”
While Lawal is adamant that injuring his knee that night reduced his abilities to win, he understands that injuries are part of the sport and credits Cavalcante for winning the fight. That said, the charismatic fighter also believes that some of his critics are overlooking the circumstances, which contributed to his first professional loss.
“I had people saying that I choked under pressure, well, I wrestled for 12 years so I know I’m tough,” Lawal said. “Oh yeah, you lost, you’re not that good,’ ‘You’re overrated,’ you know how some fans are, people will talk trash. I don’t care about that. In some ways I’m happy I lost because now I know what I need to work on.”
Lawal isn’t the first fighter to admit that he has grown as a result of defeat, and with his recovery going extremely well, he has big plans for 2011.
“I’m hungry, I’m coming back and I’m going to get that belt back,” Lawal stated. “I’m not worried about it. Now when I fight it’s going to be ugly. People are going to get hurt for real.”
posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 2:35 pm