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
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
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
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
"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
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."