Tonight's Bellator event saw the two light heavyweight tournament semifinal bouts, including Jacob Noe vs. Mikhail Zayats and “King” Mo Lawal vs. Emanuel Newton.
In the first bout of the main card, Mikhail Zayats landed a heavy hand to rock Jacob Noe early on, letting him slip into top position quickly. After some ground-and-pound, he got hold of Noe's arm, barred it and forced a tap at 3:38 of the first round.
When Lawal and Newton squared off, Lawal showed off the same confident striking he did in his Bellator debut against Przemyslaw Mysiala. Some, though, would say he was overly confident.
After out-landing Newton for the first few minutes of the fight, the underdog planted and caught Lawal with a full-power backfist clean to the teeth, right as Lawal dropped his front hand. Lawal stiffened on the spot and fell to the ground rigid.
This is one of the biggest upsets fans have seen in recent years. This writer actually stated, "many are expecting him to cruise effortlessly to the Bellator belt” and was squarely among that lot.
Lawal is a former world-class wrestler and came just short of qualifying for the 2008 Beijing Games. He used those skills to ground-and-pound his way to the Strikeforce belt, beating out Gegard Mousasi in 2010. He would lose the belt to Rafael Cavalcante, but still ranked among the best light heavyweights in MMA.
Newton will face off with Zayats at a later Bellator event, which will determine the next contender for the light heavyweight belt. Current champion Christian M'Pumbu will face off with 2012 Summer Series winner Attila Vegh next week at Bellator 91.