Liam McGeary got back in the win column on Saturday at Bellator 213, with a big third-round knockout of King Mo Lawal.
The former champion versus the champion that never was. When ‘moneyweight’ King Mo Lawal met Liam McGeary at Bellator 213 in Hawaii on Saturday night, the fight was all about potential. Or reclaiming it. Lawal had been one of Bellator’s original big free agent signings, taking the former Strikeforce champion in when the UFC failed to. Lawal was expected to do big things in Bellator, be a big star for Spike TV (now Paramount Network). He had a cross-over deal with TNA wrestling. A documentary. Yet every time Lawal earned a shot at gold, he faltered.
Twice against Emmanuel Newton, then Bellator’s light heavyweight champion. Then against Rampage Jackson, in a title eliminator (Jackson then declined to even bother to fight for the belt). He was forced out of Bellator’s one-night light heavyweight tournament, unable to continue due to injury. Despite some success in Japan, he wound up finished by Mirko Cro-Cop in the 2016 RIZIN Open-Weight Grand Prix.
Revenge against Jackson via a unanimous decision at Bellator 175 would be fleeting, as Lawal was knocked out by Ryan Bader in Bellator’s World Heavyweight Grand Prix earlier this year. Another title opportunity in Bellator missed. Which brings us to McGeary, who was supposed to be the future of the division. And was, for a while, until Phil Davis arrived. With Bellator’s 205lb division growing, McGeary began to slip to the middle of the pack. Back-to-back losses to Linton Vassell and Vadim Nemkov didn’t help.
At Bellator 213, both needed a win. As action commenced, King Mo was happy to stay on the feet and box with Liam McGeary. McGeary worked to hold center, working his jab. Lawal tried to take control, adding kicks, but McGeary was showing better movement early. With the size or at least reach advantage, that jab was keeping King Mo at bay. Finally, Lawal grabbed onto a single leg, driving McGeary back into the fence. McGeary landed an elbow but King Mo completed the takedown. McGeary was right back up, however. Mo unloaded with some big right hands. Later in the round, however, McGeary would go on the attack, but wound up dumped on his back briefly.
McGeary attacked with an inside leg kick early in the second. Both fighters tried to get their jab going, then Mo moved in with a right hand. McGeary’s leg was beginning to show some signs of wear. Yet he’d move in with a straight punch, then later fire off a high kick at King Mo. If his leg was bothering him much, he was yet to show it. Mo would continue to attack the lead leg of McGeary, but he was taking a fair amount of damage doing it. An eye poke then halted the action; when it got back underway, Mo found himself eating a barrage of elbows as he drove McGeary into the fence, looking for a takedown. That came dangerously close to a finish for McGeary, but King Mo survived, holding on to his opponent and landing a few punches of his own as McGeary powered back up.
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The third round saw the finish come quickly. McGeary connected with a jab. He’d continue to stalk King Mo, and moments later, a right hand snapped Mo’s head to the side. A second followed, and Lawal was down! One last strike on the ground (and a missed kick that would not have been legal), and that was it. McGeary was back in the win column with a pair of rights.
Liam McGeary def. King Mo Lawal by knockout, Round 3, 0:53