Bellator 120 Fight Breakdown: Rampage Jackson (-255) vs. Muhammed Lawal (+215)

Rampage Jackson The main event of Bellator 120 is a three-round light heavyweight tournament final between former UFC light heavyweight champ Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and former Strikeforce lightweight champ Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal. The current betting line for the fight at Several Bookmakers lists Jackson as a -255 favorite (bet $255 to win $100) while Lawal is a +215 underdog (bet $100 to win $215). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Jackson at -190 and Lawal at +150, meaning the action has come in on the favorite. I can see why the action has been coming in on Rampage as I’m also picking him to win the fight. Here’s why. Jackson (34-11) is the former UFC light heavyweight champ and is one of the sport’s all-time greatest fighters. The 35-year-old is known for his powerful hands and wrestling ability and holds notable career wins over Lyoto Machida, Wanderlei Silva, Dan Henderson, Chuck Liddell, and Mike Pyles, amongst others. He signed with Bellator last year and has so far gone 2-0 in the promotion with knockout wins over Christian M’Pumbu and Joey Beltran to snap a three-fight losing streak that saw him get released from the UFC. Most believed he was completely done after his losing skid in the Octagon but it’s clear from his performances in Bellator that he’s far from done, and he actually looks like he’s gained a second wind in his career after having knee surgery last year. And if he can defeat Lawal in the pair’s grudge match at Bellator 120, he’ll win the tournament and earn a title shot against Bellator light heavyweight champion Emanuel Newton. Lawal (12-3, 1 NC) is the former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion. He is a powerful wrestler who is also known for his improving boxing skills, and he holds notable career wins over Gegard Mousasi, Roger Gracie, and Lorenz Larkin (a win that was later changed to a No Contest). He is 4-2 overall inside the Bellator cage and won the promotion’s 2013 summer series light heavyweight tournament. However, he lost to the champ Newton in the title fight, his second loss to the champ after he was knocked out by Newton in shock fashion in early 2013. It’s possible that Newton, with his unorthodox striking attack, is just a bad matchup for Lawal but it’s also possible that Mo is on the downside of his career, because a few years ago the thought of him losing to Newton twice was unthinkable. But he has the opportunity this weekend to earn a trilogy match against Newton with a win over Jackson this weekend in the main event of Bellator 120, a fight that many fans have been looking forward to ever since both men signed with Bellator. I believe that Rampage should be able to stop the majority of King Mo’s takedowns, keep the fight on the feet, and outbox Lawal en route to either a decision victory of possibly even a highlight-reel knockout to win the Bellator light heavyweight tournament. I like Rampage to win this fight but the line is getting high now and at this point I’d be hesitant to make a play on him. If it comes back down to around the opener of -190, though, then I’d be much more willing to make a play. As for props, the prop on Jackson inside the distance is +175, and that could have some value as well if you think he’s going to win the fight inside of three rounds, and Jackson by decision at +159 for those who think it goes three rounds.

Written by Adam Martin.

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