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“King Mo” Lawal vs. Dustin Jacoby: Who Will Earn their Place in Bellator?

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(Photo courtesy of King Mo's Facebook)

“King Mo” Lawal has had to change his gameplan for Bellator 123 three times in the lead up to Friday’s match. Originally scheduled to face Tom Deblass, he was replaced by Marcus Sursa on August 11th, and then replaced by Dustin Jacoby on August 26th all due to injuries sustained in training. King Mo is dying for a win after a tough decision loss to “Rampage” Jackson in Bellator 120, where he lost the light heavyweight tournament final and a shot at payback against Emmanuel Newton. King Mo has plenty of grudge matches on his mind for the future, but he can’t count on any of them without a victory over Jacoby in his Bellator debut matchup. With one fighter looking to secure a title shot and another aiming to break into an organization, who will earn their place in Bellator?

Decisions Decisions

Photo by Luca Rajabi, scifighting.com
(Photo by Luca Rajabi, scifighting.com)

King Mo’s last three fights have all gone to decision, and only one of them has gone his way. He lost a decision rematch against Emmanuel Newton, won a unanimous decision against Mikhail Zayats, and lost a close decision against “Rampage” Jackson. He has to really work to find his knockout power to assure that the fight does not go to another decision against Jacoby. While 4-3 isn’t an ideal record, both Scott Coker and King Mo have signed a long-term deal that will secure his place in Bellator for years to come. In Thursday’s Bellator press release King Mo states:

“This was one of the easiest decisions I could have made,” Mo said. “After everything that went down over the last six or seven months, I didn’t think this was something that would ever happen, but when Coker came on board with Bellator, everything changed. This is where I want to be. I don’t care who I fight, when it is, or where it is. I get paid to fight, and that’s what I’m going to do for Bellator. That’s it.”

What to Expect:

(Chris Camozzi (left) stares down Dustin Jacoby (right) Esther Lin via MMAFighting.com)
(Chris Camozzi (left) stares down Dustin Jacoby (right) Esther Lin via MMAFighting.com)

Dustin Jacoby may be new to Bellator, but he has a host of experience in XFO, WSOF, the UFC and CCCW. As much as a victory for King Mo would mean to pursue his rematches against Rampage and Newton, a victory over such a big name for Jacoby would be a gigantic boost coming into the organization. King Mo and Dustin Jacoby both have well-known knack for knock outs. Jacoby has eight victories by KO to King Mo’s nine. A good portion of this match up is bound to be a brutal stand up game, but what could really give King Mo an edge is his experience as a collegiate level wrestler. Jacoby will be certain to expect a strong boxing game from King Mo, but solid takedowns and submission attempts would be a game plan he may not have enough time to prepare for in the days remaining to the the fight.

Tune into Spike TV at 8 p.m. EST to see the action of Bellator 123’s main card featuring Curran vs. Pitbull, Kongo vs. Johnson, and Lashley vs. Burns.

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Kurt Tellez
Kurt Tellez is a Southern California-based writer and musician. He first developed a passion for writing and literature in high school that carried through to the completion of a B.A. in English from Cal State Fullerton in 2013. Inspired by Joseph Conrad, Emily Dickinson, Alan Moore and Hunter S. Thompson, he has pursued a career in writing through contributions to online magazine publications, blogging, and social media management. His musical studies began at thirteen, and has since played in garage bands, concert bands and jazz bands everywhere from Honolulu to The Matthew Street Beatles Festival in Liverpool. Kurt has followed MMA since becoming an avid listener of the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast. Inspired by Eddie Bravo's appearances on the show, he became a member of Tenth Planet Jiu-Jitsu in 2014.