Competitive balance may be a fallacy you can strive for in other sports, but in fighting you need big stars. Strikeforce took a beating tonight as Bobby Lashley fell to start the Showtime telecast, then one of the promotion's brightest young stars Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal found himself face first on the mat in less than 12 minutes.
Rafael "Feijao' Cavalcante was the bigger, more powerful and more technical fighter. It was just a matter of time before King Mo got caught by some kind of nasty strike. In the third round, he was hit with a huge knee in a clinch situation. His knees buckled and as he was stumbling backwards, Feijao nailed him with another right. Lawal fell to his back and rose back up in shaky fashion. He struggled to hold on to Feijao against the cage as he got pummeled by elbows. After absorbing over a dozen elbows and punches, Lawal's left arm dropped. That's when referee John McCarthy stepped in to stop things at 1:14 of the third. Lawal was clearly out, as he fell face first to the mat. Feijao (10-2) took the Strikeforce light heavyweight title from Lawal.
It's not shocking that Lawal (7-1) lost. After making the move over from the world of amateur wrestling, He's still a very inexperienced fighter. Lawal, who just missed out on the 2008 U.S. Olympic wrestling team, allowed his grappling to carry him to an unbeaten record against a decent slate of fighters. But tonight Feijao proved to be too strong. Lawal scored two takedowns but also worked very hard while missing on three others. Even when Feijao hit the deck, he got himself to his feet relatively quickly
Lawal outlanded Feijao 67-50 but most of the Brazilian's shots were much heavier.