It’s official. Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight title contender Ryan Bader has an opponent for his first appearance inside the Bellator MMA cage. Bader will fight Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal in a light heavyweight bout at Bellator 180 on June 24 from inside Madison Square Garden in New York City live on pay-per-view (PPV). The fight announcement was made by the promotion following Lawal’s victory over Quinton “Rampage” Jackson last night (Fri., Mar. 31, 2017) at Bellator 175 live on Spike TV (results here).
“I came to fight for the title, but I’m gonna make an exception for King Mo, I want to fight at Madison Square Garden, let’s get it baby,” said Bader when he was brought into the cage to meet Lawal face-to-face.
Bader, 33, signed a multi-fight deal with the promotion earlier this month after an eight-year career in UFC. Despite never winning a UFC title, “Darth” is well-known as one of the very best 205-pound fighters in the world. A victory over Lawal on a big stage like NYC will enable Bader to lock down a title shot with current Bellator light heavyweight champion Phil Davis at the end of the year. Remember, Bader and Davis previously fought at UFC on FOX 14, with Bader beating “Mr. Wonderful” via split decision.