On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with Bellator MMA and American Top Team fighter "King" Mo Lawal (https://twitter.com/KingMoFH).
While awaiting word on when his next fight in Bellator will take place, his next competition will not be in a cage but on a mat, in the sport in which he first achieved notoriety: wrestling.
King Mo will be part of Team Joe Warren as they face Team Renzo Gracie in a freestyle wrestling dual meet at the third annual Grapple at the Garden (http://www.thegarden.com/grapple).
This event takes place Sunday, December 21, at the world's most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, in New York. His opponent, as part of this scheduled eight-man dual meet, will be Rolles Gracie of the legendary Gracie family.
At Grapple at the Garden, numerous dual meets will take place involving 25 college teams, as well as high school and youth tournaments.
The main event will feature four-time NCAA Div. I champion at Cornell, Kyle Dake of the U.S., competing in Greco-Roman wrestling against Arsen Julfalakyan of Armenia, a 2014 world champion and 2012 Olympic silver medalist in Greco-Roman wrestling. The co-main event will feature two-time world bronze medalist and 2012 Olympian in freestyle wrestling, Tervel Dlagnev of the U.S., against 2004 Olympic gold medalist and five-time world champion in freestyle wrestling, Khadshimourad Gatsalov of Russia, in a freestyle wrestling match.
We spoke with King Mo by phone Wednesday.
King Mo enters this match with numerous credentials in wrestling. He was a three-time U.S. national champion in freestyle wrestling, a 2003 All-American on the NCAA Div. I national champion Oklahoma State Cowboys, a Real Pro Wrestling champion, and a 2002 Division II national champion. But he also has not wrestled competitively since 2008, when he began fighting in professional MMA.
Asked why he agreed to take this match, he replied, "Why not?" He explained, "I was supposed to do it last year, but I had something pop up, a minor thing pop up, so I couldn't do it. So I'm going to do it this year."
Although his opponent, Rolles Gracie, has some freestyle wrestling experience, is of course known for his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and is heavier and taller than King Mo, he still expects to win handily. He said he expects to take this match by "tech fall."
We also discussed some of the differences in training for wrestling and MMA, what he hopes to accomplish in 2015 in Bellator, his views on pro wrestler CM Punk becoming a pro MMA fighter, his views on Saturday's Amir Khan-Devon Alexander boxing card in Las Vegas, and much more.
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