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Thursday, Jan 05, 2012

“King Mo” On Lorenz Larkin Fight: Expect My Hand To Be Raised

Light heavyweight superstar "King Mo" Lawal. Photo credit: Esther Lin/Strikeforce

By Joshua Molina

“King Mo” Lawal is an emotional guy. But at this stage of his career, he’s smart enough to know not to get worked up about his future in mixed martial arts.

“I just take it one fight at a time,” said Lawal, who will face an undefeated, dynamic striker in Lorenz Larkin in a Strikeforce matchup on Showtime this Saturday. “I just worry about this fight.

“I’d like to be champion again,” he continued. “It’s important to me. I got to keep winning.”

Once one of the sport’s rising stars after a stunning upset of the cobra-like Gegard Mousasi to win the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship, Lawal fell hard in his first title defense.

Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante knocked Lawal out badly in the third round, taking Lawal’s title and the luster off the then-undefeated former college wrestling champion.

Lawal was out eight months after the Feijao after he suffered a serious knee injury.

Although he was a college wrestling champion at the University of Central Oklahoma, Lawal’s loss to Feijao raised questions about the American’s viability as an MMA star.

Determined to prove the critics wrong, Lawal turned the tables.

In September he obliterated another rising star, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Roger Gracie, knocking Gracie out cold in the first round.  The victory put Lawal back in the hunt for the title and, the charismatic mixed martial artist, who once dreamed of being a professional wrestler, is committed to reclaiming his throne atop the MMA world.

He expects the Larkin fight to be a tough one.

“He’s no slouch,” Lawal said. “He’s unpredictable.”

Lawal has never been afraid to speak his mind and is vocal about the state of mixed martial arts.

Although he’s a showman — known for dancing during his thrilling ring entrances — he doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking about MMA. He doesn’t watch shows unless he or his friends are competing.

“I don’t care about the culture of MMA,” he said.

With his dynamic striking skills, Lorenz Larkin (left) has been unstoppable in the cage thus far. On Saturday, he will face his toughest test to date in Lawal.

After the UFC-owned Zuffa purchased Strikeforce last March, Lawal felt like the once-second hottest brand in MMA was being neglected, and that would eventually fold. Now that Showtime and Strikeforce have signed a multi-fight contract, he’s a little more hopeful.

But he’s learned not to worry about what happens in MMA outside the cage.

“I don’t think about whether I am fighting for Strikeforce or the UFC. I am just so excited about fighting,” said Lawal, who fights out of San Jose, California’s American Kickboxing Academy.

“Expect a high-energy, exciting fight with “me getting my hand raised,” he said.

His goal is to take Larkin out of his comfort zone.

“I got to break up his rhythm,” said Lawal. He’s a rhythm fighter. I have to break his timing.

Beyond that, the king isn’t over-thinking anything.

“I am just going to keep on winning,” he said. “We will see where this fight takes me.”


posted by FCF Staff @ 2:45 pm
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