LAS VEGAS - Muhammed Lawal's ready to reclaim his crown. Make that another crown.
Nicknamed "King Mo," Lawal is a nasty ground artist and put the hurt on Larkin, stopping him at 1:32 of the second round in fight No. 3 of the main card at Strikeforce inside The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel.
Lawal got off 15 unanswered shots before referee Kim Winslow saved Larkin. Some in attendance thought it was a late stoppage, including Lawal, who yelled something in disgust about the ref.
"She explained to me that she wants to give us a fair chance to keep on continuing," Lawal said once he calmed down a bit. "If it was me, I'd rather be put to sleep, too."
Lawal, a former star on the international wrestling scene, has developed his striking, but there was little sense in banging it out on the feet with Larkin. Larkin is a dynamic striker with very little grappling experience.
King Mo played to his strength early by scoring a takedown just 27 seconds into the fight. Larkin got back to his feet after a shaky standup by referee Kim Winslow.
Lawal was good on both of takedown attempts and landed 58-of-94 shots on the ground.
In essence, this was a light heavyweight title qualifier. Lawal should be line to face someone for the title later this year. Former champ Dan Henderson vacated the title when he left to return to the UFC.