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Ryan Bader to make Bellator debut against ‘King Mo’ in New York

Ryan Bader
Ryan Bader is going to make his Bellator debut at MSG.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Muhammed Lawal didn’t even get a chance to catch his breath before Bellator announced his next fight.

Minutes after Lawal’s unanimous decision victory over Quinton Jackson in the main event of Bellator 175 on Friday night in Chicago, color commentator Jimmy Smith announced “King Mo” would be facing the debuting Ryan Bader in the main event of Bellator 180 on June 24 in New York. Bellator 180 is the Spike TV card underneath Bellator NYC, the pay-per-view headlined by Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva.

Lawal (21-6, 1 NC) has now won two straight in Bellator with one loss to Mirko Cro Cop in the Rizin openweight grand prix last year in between. “King Mo,” who is willing to fight in three different weight classes, fought Jackson at heavyweight Friday night. His fight with Bader will presumably be back at light heavyweight, where Lawal is the former Strikeforce champion. Lawal, 36, is 9-2 since falling to Jackson back in 2014.

Bader (22-5) won two straight in the UFC before departing for Bellator as a free agent. His signing was made official just last week. The Arizona resident is regarded as one of the top light heavyweights in the world. Bader, 33, owns a win over current Bellator champ Phil Davis.

No co-main event has been made official yet for Bellator 180. A bout between prospect James Gallagher and Chinzo Machida has been booked for the Spike portion of the broadcast and blue-chipper Aaron Pico is likely to make his debut that night, too.

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