Lawal Says Defeat Deserved for Abandoning Game Plan, Preps for Surgery Wednesday


Sometimes after a loss, fighters might take a long time to figure out what went wrong.

Not so for former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal, who lost his title to Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante via a third-round referee stoppage at Strikeforce "Houston" earlier this month.

"I threw out my wrestling," Lawal told the Sherdog Radio Network's "Savage Dog Show" on Monday. "The thing is, if you look at (UFC 118), wrestling dominated. Demian Maia used wrestling to get his takedowns. Gray Maynard used wrestling. Frankie Edgar used his hands and his wrestling when he had to. I didn't use my wrestling enough. I didn't set anything up. I didn't fake any takedowns. I didn't really shoot any hard takedown attempts."

Lawal was leading on the judges' scorecards before Cavalcante floored the collegiate wrestling champion with consecutive knees and a right hand to signal the beginning of the end.

The 29-year-old fighter won the title by out-wrestling favorite Gegard Mousasi to a five-round unanimous decision at Strikeforce “Nashville” on April 17 in Tennessee.

Lawal did slam Cavalcante early in the fight, but "Feijao" got back to his feet shortly thereafter and Lawal stayed away from his trademark wrestling after that. Lawal said Cavalcante's quick recovery wasn't the reason why he didn't utilize his wrestling skills.

"A slam is a slam," said Lawal. "A takedown is different. If you take somebody down, you control their whole body into a position when you land. But I slammed him and was looking to throw punches and he came back up. I was trying to throw punches and he came back up and recovered. If I'd just grinded him out and taken him down over and over like I did with Mousasi, he would've been gassed out dead in the third round."

The first loss of Lawal's eight-fight pro MMA career not only cost him the Strikeforce title, but it will put him on the sidelines for several months, as he will undergo knee surgery to replace both his anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments in his left knee on Wednesday in Los Angeles.

Lawal’s surgery will be performed by Dr. Neal S. Elattrache, of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic, the same physician who performed arthroscopic surgery on heavyweight contender Fabricio Werdum Aug. 18 to remove 27 loose bone fragments in the Brazilian’s left elbow.

It's the second ACL surgery for Lawal, who had the same surgery in 2009 after tearing the ligament during the first round of his bout against Ryo Kawamura at Sengoku “Seventh Battle” in March 2009.

Lawal was upbeat about the defeat and the upcoming rehabilitation process, which could take up to nine months.

"I've lost before in wrestling," said Lawal. "I'm going to bounce back. I didn't want to lose, but I deserved to lose because I went out there and abandoned my true game plan. I just went out there and fought a stupid fight. If I hadn't lost, I would've gone back and done the same things over and over again. If I wouldn't have lost now, who knows who I would've lost to later."

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