Muhammed Lawal teed off on Seth Petruzelli at Bellator 96. | File Photo: Keith Mills/

Muhammed Lawal returned to his winning ways Wednesday night with a vicious knockout of Seth Petruzelli in the main event of Bellator 96 at the Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla.

The 95-second victory came as a result of an early takedown from Lawal, who worked his way inside of Petruzelli’s punches and kicks to put “The Silverback” on his posterior. Though Petruzelli initially did well to fire off short punches from the open guard, Lawal eventually stood up and threw his opponent’s legs to the side before raining down a wrecking ball of a right hand that instantly turned out Petruzelli’s lights. Apparently realizing the blow had accomplished its intended task, the former Strikeforce champion declined to follow up, instead walking away from his unconscious foe.

The performance grants “King Mo” passage to the Summer Series light heavyweight tournament finals, slated to take place July 31 at Bellator 97.

Noe Retires ‘Babalu’

Photo: K. Mills/

Noe's left hand battered ‘Babalu.’

Jacob Noe earned his spot in the light heavyweight tournament finals by sending Strikeforce champion Renato Sobral into retirement, though the victory was not without controversy.

Noe and Sobral exchanged relatively evenly throughout the bout’s first 10 minutes, with Noe consistently finding a home for his right straight while “Babalu” attacked with low kicks. The Brazilian attempted two takedowns but found the efforts fruitless, as the American stuffed each try. Noe then took control of the fight in round three, walking through Sobral’s long jab to land heavy right hands, staggering Sobral against the cage.

After eating an especially crisp flurry, a fatigued “Babalu” circled off the fence on wobbly legs, a sight referee Kerry Hatley interpreted as cause to halt the bout and save the light heavyweight from further punishment. Sobral immediately protested the stoppage. After Noe was announced the winner, Sobral informed the Bellator commentary team that he has decided to retire from active competition. The Brazilian leaves the cage with a career mark of 37-11.

Sparks Sparked in Half a Minute

Photo: K. Mills/

Minakov decimated Sparks in 32 seconds.

Unbeaten Russian Vitaly Minakov wasted no time in disposing of Ron Sparks to advance to the finals of the Summer Series heavyweight tournament, knocking out “The Monster” in just 32 seconds.

The sambo expert measured his foe carefully during their brief encounter before lunging forward with a sharp right hand that put Sparks on the mat. Minakov quickly pursued, connecting with a series of ground strikes that caused Sparks to turn belly-down and signaled referee John McCarthy to intervene.

Photo: K. Mills/

Controversial welterweight War Machine emerged victorious in his Bellator debut Wednesday night, returning from an 18-month layoff to stop World Extreme Cagefighting veteran Blas Avena. The man formerly known as Jon Koppenhaver appeared a step slow in the bout’s opening minutes, as he pursued Avena with punching combinations, but soon found himself caught in a Thai plum that resulted in several hard knees to the ribs.

The UFC alum found his way back on track when he hit a high-impact double-leg takedown and transitioned to side control, where he trapped Avena’s near-side arm in the crucifix position. The finish came soon after, as Avena could do nothing to stifle the onslaught of punches that followed, forcing referee Kerry Hatley to halt the bout 3:55 into round one.

“I’m happy. I’ve never won by decision. I always try to finish my fights,” said the polarizing welterweight. “I was a little nervous tonight. It was my first fight in over a year. He caught me with a couple of good body shots -- with knees -- but I came back and stayed calm. I want that belt. I’m going to hurt some people.”

No Notice, No Problem

Photo: K. Mills/

Late notice was no problem for Martinez.

Late replacement Ryan Martinez became the first heavyweight tournament participant to punch his ticket to the finals during the evening’s undercard, when the heavy-handed southpaw stopped Rich Hale with first-round strikes.

Following an extended feeling-out process, Martinez, who replaced an injured Vinicius Kappke de Queiroz in the heavyweight draw, closed the distance with a wild swing before grabbing a body lock and taking Hale to the floor. Though Hale did his best to fend off his stocky opponent with up-kicks, Martinez eventually found his mark, stunning Hale with a crisp left hook before relieving him of his consciousness with a series of clubbing hammerfists that forced referee John McCarthy to wave off the contest 2:19 into the opening frame.

Other Bouts

Photo: Keith Mills/

McNally used an old Bellator favorite,
the inverted triangle choke.

The evening’s undercard also saw Brandon Halsey extend his career unbeaten streak to four fights, as the light heavyweight recovered from a second-round low-blow to score a split decision win over Joe Yager; heavyweight talent Raphael Butler also remained undefeated, picking up a first-round technical knockout over Jeremiah O’Neal; Derek Campos edged Brandon Girtz in a unanimous decision; Damon Jackson made quick work of Keith Miner, picking up a TKO finish in just 2:00; In the evening’s opening contest, 22-year-old Justin McNally earned the second win of his pro career by submitting Steven Artoff with an inverted triangle-armbar at 2:44 of the opening round of their bantamweight affair.
view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

King Mo believes Nick Diaz is innocent

  • 25 days ago

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Muhammed Lawal talks about Nick Diaz's suspension, the upcoming Bellator tournament, MMA vs. boxing, and more. read news >>

King Mo Lawal Happy to Collect Two Paychecks in Bellator’s Throwback One-Night Tourney

  • 24 days ago

Muhammed Lawal faces Linton Vassell in the Bellator MMA & Glory: Dynamite 1 light heavyweight tournament and is confident he'll win the whole thing. read news >>

Bellator 142 video highlights: 'King Mo' Lawal vs. Linton Vassell

  • 23 days ago

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Muhammed Lawal looked outstanding early against Linton Vassell and mostly cruised his way into the Bellator light heavyweight tournament final. Filed under: Bellator, News read news >>

King Mo out, Carmont in vs. Phil Davis in Bellator LHW tournament final

  • 23 days ago

An injury to Muhammed Lawal means that Francis Carmont advances to the Bellator LHW tournament final on Dynamite. Bellator MMA's one-man light heavyweight tournament final has a major shake-up. Muham read news >>

Twitter reacts to Phil Davis' Bellator 142 tournament-winning KO of Francis Carmont

  • 23 days ago

Phil Davis hardly broke a sweat in winning the Bellator 142 one-night light heavyweight tournament.Filed under: Bellator, News read news >>

Bellator 142 video highlights: Paul Daley vs. Fernando Gonzalez

  • 23 days ago

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Paul Daley returned to action on Saturday – but it wasn’t in the cage. Check out highlights from his Glory kickboxing bout at Bellator 142.Filed under: Bellator, News read news >>

Bellator 142 video highlights: Phil Davis vs. Francis Carmont

  • 23 days ago

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Phil Davis thought he’d be fighting Muhammed Lawal in Saturday’s light heavyweight tournament final at Bellator 142. But it was Francis Carmont, instead. Check out the highlights i read news >>

Rich Chou's Shoes: What's next for Bellator 142's winning fighters?

  • 22 days ago

With Bellator 142 in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Rich Chou’s shoes, and play Bellator matchmaker.Filed under: Bellator, News read news >>

Bellator 142 reactions: Winning and losing fighters on social media

  • 22 days ago

Following Saturday’s Spike-televised Bellator 142 event in San Jose, several of the winning and losing fighters took to social media to react to the event or share a message with supporters. Check th read news >>

Bellator 143 event highlights: Warren gets another title shot, Grove gets big TKO

  • 17 days ago

Bellator returned on Friday with its second event in less than a week and a long-awaited return to Texas. Check out main-card video highlights inside. Filed under: Bellator, Featured, Featured Videos read news >>