Bellator 96: Lawal vs. Petruzelli Pick and Preview
Wednesday, June 19 – 11:00 p.m. ET
Winstar World Casino – Thackerville, OK
Muhammed Lawal (9-2) vs. Seth Petruzelli (14-7)
Light heavyweight bout
Line: Lawal -1420, Petruzelli +850
Coming off just his second career loss, Muhammed Lawal returns as a heavy favorite in a light heavyweight bout against Seth Petruzelli, headlining Bellator 96 on Wednesday.
A former Strikeforce light heavyweight champ, Lawal has beaten top-notch fighters such as Gegard Mousasi. But he has also been inconsistent lately, going 2-2 with a no-contest in his past five bouts. Petruzelli is also coming off a loss, falling via TKO, and the one thing that is sure with him is that it should be a quick fight. His past 11 bout—in which he is 7-4—have all come via knockout or submission. A solid kickboxer with a powerful punch as well, he has the potential to even beat somebody like Lawal, who lost via KO his last time out. As an overwhelming underdog, take PETRUZELLI in this one.
“King Mo” Lawal might be the biggest name signed with Bellator as a former international and collegiate wrestler who has an upside few can match. Seven of his nine career wins have been knockouts, mostly a result of his potent punches. He sets up those punches with his elite takedown tactics, consistently demonstrating a punishing attacking style that makes it difficult for opponents to find their groove. He couldn’t avoid that fate his last time out, however, losing via knockout just 2:35 into the Bellator Season 8 Light Heavyweight Tournament Semifinal to Emanual Newton. Lawal was a very heavy favorite there and lost, and bettors should be wary of suffering the same fate twice.
Despite being less of a name, Petruzelli has fought some big names in his career. In 2007, he lost via decision to Matt Hamill, and in 2008 he knocked out the legendary Kimbo Slice just 14 seconds in the first round. None of his past seven victories has left the first round. He had more than a year off before his last fight, a loss to Jacob Noe in January, so that was needed to shake off the rust. Both of these fighters stand at 6-feet-0, though Lawal’s reach is five inches longer. Still, Petruzelli should be geared up for a potential upset here.
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