The build up to Bellator 120's re-worked main event tonight (Sat., May 17, 2014) between Quinton Jackson vs. Muhammed Lawal was, at times, painfully contrived and difficult to watch.
But, both former Light Heavyweight champions from different promotions -- Jackson Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Lawal (Strikeforce) -- walked the walk at Landers Center in Southaven, Miss., to cap off a solid pay-per-view (PPV) debut for the promotion.
Lawal barreled out of the gate with an immediate takedown -- much to the chagrin of the local boo birds -- but Jackson was able to call upon his high school wrestling skills and power his way back up to his feet.
Only to get dropped again via ankle pick.
The Memphis homer once again found his legs and pushed off, giving himself about 90 seconds to make some magic happen with his hands. Unfortunately, "King Mo" was on his royal 10-speed, zipping around the cage and staying out of danger.
Round two got underway with a deflected shot to the pills, easily shaken off by Jackson, and a solid minute of bobbing and weaving. "Rampage" opened up his hands and shucked off a few takedowns while Lawal looked to be fighting (and running) scared.
The former UFC 205-pound kingpin got tagged by way of lazy defense -- then taken down -- but escaped and finished the second round as the aggressor. "King Mo" retreated to his corner with huge cut under his eye.
There was a renewed sense of urgency from Lawal heading into the third and final frame. Jackson was looking for the finishing blow, but was easily upended by the takedown-seeking interloper. He crawled back to his feet and scurried after "King Mo" for the remainder of the fight, swinging the entire way.
Quinton Jackson def. Muhammed Lawal via unanimous decision
Lawal had a brief meltdown after the fight, accusing Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney of being a Jackson "dick rider" and offered to get cut if he (Rebney) didn't like it. While he refused to elaborate at the post-fight presser (video here), "King Mo" and "Rampage" continued their war of words.
I have a feeling this one isn't over with just yet.
Nevertheless, with his big Season 10 Light Heavyweight tournament win, Jackson now sets himself up for a future showdown against division champion, Emanuel Newton.
For complete Bellator 120: "Rampage vs. King Mo" results, including play-by-play coverage of the entire PPV main card, check out our live results thread right here.