Ryan Bader has respect for Muhammed Lawal, but believes he lacks the ability to evolve.
Bader is the reigning Bellator light heavyweight champion, but he’s dipping his toes in the heavyweight water. He’ll take on “King Mo” in a Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix match-up. If all goes well, then the winner will meet Matt Mitrione in a semi-finals bout. Bader vs. Lawal goes down on May 12 in the main event of Bellator 199.
What Lawal brings to the table is his heavyweight experience and the wrestling to match Bader’s. The two even wrestled in college. While Lawal tended to have his way in the wrestling matches, this is mixed martial arts.
Speaking to Damon Martin, “Darth” said he keeps elevating his game while Lawal remains the same:
“First and foremost, there’s nothing but respect there. I wrestled him back in college, he whooped my ass in college. I’ve been competing against these guys like him and Phil Davis since then. He’s done great in his career. Just for me, I just don’t see him evolving through this whole process. While I’m in the gym constantly getting better, I’m constantly working hard and going through these training camps, I feel like I’m coming in here in my prime just now. I feel like he’s had injuries, he’s sat out a lot, he’s just going through the training camps just trying to stay healthy and then going in there trying to box or knock somebody out and wrestle some people. He has great wrestling.”
Bellator 199 airs on the same night as UFC 224. The co-main event will see welterweights Jon Fitch and Paul Daley do battle. Aaron Pico will also make his return as well as Cheick Kongo. It all goes down inside the SAP Center in San Jose, California.
Will Ryan Bader get past “King Mo” to advance in the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix?