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Bellator 154: King Mo feels Phil Davis will change his cocky attitude once he gets punched in the face

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Bellator 154: "Davis vs. King Mo" will take place this Saturday night (May 14, 2016) at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif, featuring former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Top 10-ranked Light Heavyweight Phil Davis facing long-time Bellator star Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal in the main event of the evening. The winner of the long-awaited showdown will likely earn a title shot against 205-pound champion Liam McGeary in the near future.

Davis technically already earned his shot at the champion by winning the Bellator 142: "Dynamite 1" tournament in Sept. 2015, but in doing so, he faced an alternate in the finals, Francis Carmont, who replaced Lawal after an injury suffered earlier in the evening left him unable to continue.

After his rib injury healed, Lawal booked a flight to Japan to compete in another tournament for Rizin Fighting Federation. Lawal's knockout of Jiri Prochazka in the finals gave "King Mo" another crown: Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion. Now, Lawal returns to the same city and venue where he was originally supposed to face "Mr. Wonderful" with a chance to play spoiler. If he picks up his eighth straight win, he also steals the title shot Davis currently holds.

"King Mo" recently spoke with about his latest opportunity to earn that coveted No. 1 contender spot in Bellator. Before going into the details of that fight, Lawal spoke about the tragic and untimely passing of fellow fighter Jordan Parsons.

"Man, I think the whole thing is crazy. When it comes down to it (and), this card we're all fighting hard for him -- all fighting hard for Jordan. It's just crazy things like that can happen."

If you'd like to help his family with the expenses, a GoFundMe has been set up to pay for his medical and funeral costs. We move on from that somber news to the topic of his fight with Davis.

"Yeah man, I'm excited. I'll be more excited after the weigh-ins. We'll see what's up, man, because he's pretty confident. He's kinda overconfident I feel, thinking that he can beat me everywhere, but we'll see what's up because he can talk that noise until the cage (door) closes."

Davis has always been a little confident (not cocky), but as an occasional professional wrestler and life-long fan, Lawal takes exception to Davis using the "Mr. Wonderful" moniker.

"I think that maybe he kinda stole Paul Orndorff's name and didn't give him no respect by taking his name. Yeah yeah -- we'll see how 'Wonderful' he is once I put these hands on him."

Lawal has in the past been criticized for unexciting fights based on takedowns and ground control (similar to Davis), but with knockouts in 68 percent of his wins (13 of 19), including two of his last three fights, that diss doesn't hold up in 2016.

That doesn't mean Lawal doesn't expect Davis to try and make it boring ... operative word being "try."

"You know, I believe he's gonna try to wrestle with me. If he tries to wrestle with me (then) I'll try to wrestle with him. It's a fight, so whatever openings are there we're gonna go for. Everybody has openings, you know what I'm saying? It all changes once you get hit a few times."

Some may be surprised that Lawal says keeping his win streak going matters more than earning a title shot until you realize that in his view they achieve identical goals.

"Keeping the streak alive (matters more) because me keeping the streak alive leads to the title shot."

That streak includes the Rizin Fighting Federation in Japan and the Heavyweight tournament that he won, but in typical "King Mo" fashion, he comes across like going up in weight was no big deal.

"Well I believe even when I was a Heavyweight I wasn't big I just kinda just... I just fought at my normal walk-around weight. My walk around weight is literally like 214, 215, maybe 216 here and there."

Lawal is not dismissive of the fighters who he defeated to win the Grand Prix, though.

"I went out there and took care of business. I just had to go out there you know and be focused and stay mentally in the zone. (Prochazka) was tough man. He kept me at bay with his kicks, (but) I got to him. Man he's a scrapper, a big guy, long and rangy. I feel that was a good win -- both him and Teodoras (Aukstuolis). He was a judo Olympian. Two tough guys. Even the first guy (Brett McDermott) I fought was tough. He wasn't skilled, but he was tough as nails."

"Taking care of business" is what Lawal is about every time he fights in the cage, but outside of the cage he loves to entertain the crowd. He had plans for the SAP Center in San Jose that sadly did not come to fruition.

"I was going to have Harlem Heat walk me out to the cage, but that all fell through. Now I have to figure out something else. We just asked Rikishi, but Rikishi can't make it, so I'm going to find something. I'm going to find somebody to step in."

Lawal is definitely not afraid to mix up MMA and pro wrestling, but given Road Warrior Animal once walked out Ken Shamrock, it's not unprecedented in Bellator. Only one thing matters to Lawal, though, when the sports entertainment is done: Putting a whooping on Davis. He doesn't believe Davis (or anybody else) can match him all around pound-for-pound.

"Aww yeah, but he'll find out the hard way. Everybody thinks that, but it all changes once you get hit."

Complete audio of our interview is below and complete Bellator MMA coverage can be found right here on fight night.


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