SAN DIEGO — "King Mo" Lawal’s path to the Bellator light heavyweight title will be blocked as long as Emanuel Newton, who defeated him twice, holds the belt.
In the meantime, all Lawal can do is defeat the fighters the company puts in front of him and hope things break his way. Lawal upheld his end of the bargain on Saturday night, as he made it look easy against substitute Joe Vedepo on the main card of Bellator 131 at the Valley View Casino Center.
With the third-round TKO victory, Lawal, the former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion, won his second straight fight and third in his past four since dropping a decision to Newton last November.
In round one, Lawal, who now trains with American Top Team, went straight to his bread and butter and scored a takedown. The bulk of the round remained with Lawal in top position. While there wasn’t enough damage done to merit a 10-8, Lawal was active through and landed with his punches.
Round two was much of the same, as Vedepo (17-9), a longtime vet who was a replacement for Tom DeBlass, continued to take a beating on the bottom. He came out of the second round with both eyes swollen.
The end came fast in round three, as Lawal wobbled Vedepo with his punches. Vedepo made a desperate lunge at a single-leg takedown, missed, and from there it was a matter of time, as Lawal pounced and landed punches until referee Jason Herzog waved off the fight at 0:39.
"He was tough as hell, he took a beating and he kept on trying to fight," Lawal said of his opponent. "He was a good opponent."
It was Lawal’s 11th victory via finish, while Vedepo had a three-fight winning streak snapped.