Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests each week in mixed martial arts. In the latest installment, we look at the main event of Bellator 175 as “King Mo” Muhammad Lawal takes on Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Muhammad Lawal (Record: 20-6, -335 Favorite) The Bellator MMA light heavyweight was one of the first big free agents to make his way over to the promotion. He entered Bellator from Strikeforce in 2013 and has compiled a 9-4 record in the promotion. In his last bout, Lawal fought under the Rizin banner (as part of an arrangement with Bellator) and lost to heavyweight Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic. His fight with Rampage is just over three months after his loss to Cro Cop. The NCAA Division I All-American wrestler has long been of the better light heavyweights in MMA. He made his biggest mark in Strikeforce, becoming the organization’s light heavyweight champion prior to making the move to Bellator. King Mo is first and foremost a wrestler. He has some of the best takedowns in the division. He has very good technique and can certainly take opponents down with regularity. Over the years, he has fallen in love with his striking. He hits with significant power and often prefers to go for the knockout as opposed to grinding out a win. That mindset has been a detriment to Lawal, as it has cost him some fights in the past. Quinton Jackson (Record: 37-14, +275 Underdog) Like King Mo, Rampage made his way over the Bellator in 2013. In his time in Bellator, he has compiled a 5-0 record, including wins over former UFC fighters Joey Beltran and Fabio Maldonado. Rampage last fought in Bellator in June 2016 when he beat Satoshi Ishii by split decision. The former Pride FC and UFC light heavyweight kingpin hasn’t lost since he made the move to Bellator. With Rampage, he wants to box. He’s stated publicly that he’s frustrated with the current state of MMA. He’s mentioned the emphasis and scoring lends itself to grappling and wrestling. That is not something he wants to do. He’s looking for a striking contest and to box his opponents until he forces his opposition to the fall to the mat. At 38 years of age and following multiple surgeries, Rampage’s knees are shot. His ability to stuff takedowns has been severely limited. Furthermore, there are major questions about Rampage’s preparation for this bout. He’s fought primarily at light heavyweight during his career. In his last bout, he moved up to heavyweight and weighed in at 224.5 pounds. For his Bellator 175 match with King Mo, Rampage weighed in at a whopping 253 pounds, nearly 30 pounds heavier than his previous fight. It’s apparent that Rampage is out of shape for this fight. Matchup In a main event riddled with a lot of question marks, Rampage looks to defeat King Mo for the second time when they square off at Bellator 175. The opening line for this fight had Lawal favored at -170. The line has since ballooned to Lawal being a -335 favorite. With news of Rampage weighing in at 253 pounds, the number continues to climb. Even with Rampage winning the first bout, there’s very good reason to back King Mo in this matchup. It starts and ends with Rampage’s preparation for this fight. He’s out of shape and will be fighting at a weight he has not fought at before. The increase in weight will severely limit his movement and his ability to prevent takedowns. If King Mo wants to take Rampage to the mat, he should have no issue doing so and will be able to win a decision. The only way I can see Mo losing this fight is if he decides to trade punches with Rampage and gets clipped by a Rampage power shot. At -170, I loved this line, as I had King Mo pegged as a 3-to-1 favorite in this bout. Once props become available, a longshot on Rampage by knockout is a line I’d be willing to consider if the price is right. King Mo by decision is the most likely result in this fight though, and if it’s close to even money, that’s the line I’ll be targeting for a standard bet in this fight. Rampage hasn’t been finished in a fight since 2005 and is unlikely to lose anything other than a decision here.
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