Best male Bellator fighter: Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal
Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal is perhaps better known for his days in Strikeforce or bouts in RIZIN, but when Lawal came to Bellator, his signing was treated as a very big deal. He couldn’t win gold in Bellator like he did in the other two promotions, but Lawal was still one of Bellator’s most talented fighters during his time there.
Making his MMA debut in September 2008, Lawal joined Strikeforce the next year, briefly holding the Strikeforce light heavyweight championship in 2010 after a win over Gegard Mousasi. With an 8-1 (1 NC) record entering 2013, Lawal joined Bellator not long before Strikeforce’s folding, competing in the season 8 light heavyweight tournament before getting knocked out by Emanuel Newton in upset fashion.
Lawal won the 2013 Bellator Summer Series light heavyweight tournament but lost to Newton once again, this time with the interim Bellator light heavyweight title on the line. He’d compete in the season 10 tournament but fell in the final to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
Lawal, however, would go on a seven-fight win streak that included wins over Cheick Kongo and Linton Vassell before traveling to Japan to participate in, and win, the RIZIN Heavyweight Grand Prix in 2015.
This marked the peak of Lawal’s Bellator and RIZIN runs, however, as he’d lose five of his next seven. While he gained revenge on Jackson, Lawal would lose his 2016 RIZIN Openweight Grand Prix opening round bout to Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, his first-round Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix match to eventual tournament winner Ryan Bader and the inaugural RIZIN light heavyweight title fight to Jiri Prochazka (the man he bested in the heavyweight tournament in 2015). Lawal retired following the loss to Prochazka.
- Thomas Albano