Muhammed Lawal teed off on Seth Petruzelli at Bellator 96. | File Photo: Keith Mills/Sherdog.com
Muhammed Lawal returned to his winning ways Wednesday night with a vicious knockout of Seth Petruzelli in the main event of Bellator 96 at the Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla.
The 95-second victory came as a result of an early takedown from Lawal, who worked his way inside of Petruzelli’s punches and kicks to put “The Silverback” on his posterior. Though Petruzelli initially did well to fire off short punches from the open guard, Lawal eventually stood up and threw his opponent’s legs to the side before raining down a wrecking ball of a right hand that instantly turned out Petruzelli’s lights. Apparently realizing the blow had accomplished its intended task, the former Strikeforce champion declined to follow up, instead walking away from his unconscious foe.
The performance grants “King Mo” passage to the Summer Series light heavyweight tournament finals, slated to take place July 31 at Bellator 97.
Noe Retires ‘Babalu’
Noe and Sobral exchanged relatively evenly throughout the bout’s first 10 minutes, with Noe consistently finding a home for his right straight while “Babalu” attacked with low kicks. The Brazilian attempted two takedowns but found the efforts fruitless, as the American stuffed each try. Noe then took control of the fight in round three, walking through Sobral’s long jab to land heavy right hands, staggering Sobral against the cage.
After eating an especially crisp flurry, a fatigued “Babalu” circled off the fence on wobbly legs, a sight referee Kerry Hatley interpreted as cause to halt the bout and save the light heavyweight from further punishment. Sobral immediately protested the stoppage. After Noe was announced the winner, Sobral informed the Bellator commentary team that he has decided to retire from active competition. The Brazilian leaves the cage with a career mark of 37-11.
Sparks Sparked in Half a Minute
The sambo expert measured his foe carefully during their brief encounter before lunging forward with a sharp right hand that put Sparks on the mat. Minakov quickly pursued, connecting with a series of ground strikes that caused Sparks to turn belly-down and signaled referee John McCarthy to intervene.
War Machine Takes Battle to Avena
The UFC alum found his way back on track when he hit a high-impact double-leg takedown and transitioned to side control, where he trapped Avena’s near-side arm in the crucifix position. The finish came soon after, as Avena could do nothing to stifle the onslaught of punches that followed, forcing referee Kerry Hatley to halt the bout 3:55 into round one.
“I’m happy. I’ve never won by decision. I always try to finish my fights,” said the polarizing welterweight. “I was a little nervous tonight. It was my first fight in over a year. He caught me with a couple of good body shots -- with knees -- but I came back and stayed calm. I want that belt. I’m going to hurt some people.”
No Notice, No Problem
Following an extended feeling-out process, Martinez, who replaced an injured Vinicius Kappke de Queiroz in the heavyweight draw, closed the distance with a wild swing before grabbing a body lock and taking Hale to the floor. Though Hale did his best to fend off his stocky opponent with up-kicks, Martinez eventually found his mark, stunning Hale with a crisp left hook before relieving him of his consciousness with a series of clubbing hammerfists that forced referee John McCarthy to wave off the contest 2:19 into the opening frame.