Bellator 90 PosterBellator light heavyweight Muhammed Lawal spent more than a year on the sidelines due to a drug-related suspension and slew of injury issues leading up to his unveiling in the organization’s cage. However, Lawal found a way to channel the adversity into an impressive debut last week at Bellator 86 where he knocked out opponent Przemyslaw Mysiala in the opening round of action.

“King Mo” won’t be wasting anytime getting back into the swing of things this time around, agreeing to face Emanuel Newton on February 21 at Bellator 90 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The event will also host a featherweight bout between regional star Rad Martinez and Russian striker Shahbulat Shamhalaev with the winner going on to challenge for the company’s divisional belt.

The 9-1 Lawal, who has trained with Newton before in the past, made it clear his personal connection with the former MFC champion won’t prevent him from gunning for a highlight-reel finish.

“I said it after my quarterfinal win, and I’ll say it again, I’m looking to smash this dude,” said Lawal in a prepared statement to media. “Emanuel is a tough guy, but I know where my game is at, and if I focus on me, we won’t have any issues on February 21. I’m always looking for that first round knockout, and that’s it.”

Lawal has won seven of his fights by way of a strike-based stoppage and holds past wins over the likes of Roger Gracie and Gegard Mousasi. By comparison, Newton is 19-7-1 with ten finishes and triumphs in seven of his last eight outings.