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Muhammed Lawal set for Bellator debut on Jan. 17

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Muhammed Lawal's highly-anticipated Bellator debut is a little over a month away.

According to sources close to the event, "King Mo" will make his first Bellator appearance on Thursday, Jan. 17, at the UCI Bren Events Center in Irvine, Calif. Lawal will compete in the promotion's light heavyweight tournament.

No word just yet on who the former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion will meet in the first round of the tournament.

Lawal (8-1, 1 NC) hasn't fought since last January when he defeated Lorenz Larkin via knockout. The win, however, was changed to a no contest by the Nevada State Athletic Commission after he tested positive for the anabolic steroid drostanolone.

He signed with Bellator in May after Strikeforce released him for tweeting disparaging remarks about a member of the NSAC, which he later apologized for.

Previous reports have stated Bellator will make its debut on Spike TV on Jan. 10, however, the Jan. 17 card is the only 2013 event currently listed on

The news also all but officially confirms that the promotion will go back to running events on Thursdays.