Following a two-year layoff, former UFC light heavyweight Seth Petruzelli made his return to MMA this past March at Bellator 85 against Jacob Noe.
Unfortunately for Petruzelli, the fight ended in a TKO loss and a quick end to what was looking like the start of a comeback.
“It was really heartbreaking for the last Bellator tournament to go down the way it did, especially because I knew I was better than the guy I was fighting,” said Petruzelli. “I felt really good in there and it was just a matter of time before I knocked him out. For it to end the way it did, it was just like, ‘What the (expletive)?!’
“I definitely want to come back and prove my last fight was just a (expletive) fluke. Anyone that’s watched that fight knows I was winning, but at the same time, a loss is a loss.”
Having suffered a knee injury prior to his fight with Noe, Petruzelli is now healthy and looking to reboot his comeback hopes against “King” Mo Lawal at Wednesday’s Bellator 96 event in Thackerville, Okla., live on Spike TV.
“King Mo is one of the most dangerous opponents I’ve ever fought and he’s probably the most relevant,” said Petruzelli. “Obviously things didn’t go well for him in his last fight, but I really believe he’s at the top of his game right now.
“At the same time, I’m just fighting another man; I’m not fighting the name King Mo. He can be beat. I just have to put the work in to do it.”
Petruzelli doesn’t fool himself into thinking Lawal may get out of his comfort zone of wrestling, but just in case he can get him to trade shots, there would be nothing that would make him happier.
“I want nothing more than Mo to stand and bang with me,” Petruzelli said. “Obviously he’s not going to listen to me, but I’m begging him to please stand with me, (but) that would be a dream come true. I hope he’s feeling froggy and wants to prove a point because I’ll be there for him.
“I really hope he tries to stand with me, but (I’ve trained) for him to try to take me down. I think once he gets tagged on the feet he’s going to try to get me to the ground. I think he’s way overconfident with his hands. He’s got powerful and quick punches, but technically I don’t think his hands are there yet.”
As part of this season’s shortened four-man light-heavyweight tournament, the opportunity is there for Petruzelli to get a title shot at Attila Vegh should he win out, but that’s not what drives him at this point.
“To be honest, I could care less about winning the belt right now,” he said. “I just care about getting really good fights and beating really good fighters to validate my legacy in this sport.
“I don’t want to be known as the guy that beat a couple good fighters here and there. I want to be known as the guy that beat good fighters throughout his career and King Mo is another opportunity to show that.”