"King" Muhammed Lawal came back to Strikeforce in style after a year on the shelf and knocked out Roger Gracie late in the first round tonight at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov. Gracie looked okay on the feet for the first round, but the action was mostly slow until Mo clipped Gracie behind the ear with a huge right hand and Gracie collapsed to the mat. A couple of followup punches forced the referee to step in and award Mo the win. The bout was over at 4:33 of round one.
The crowd got into the fight early with the familiar King! Mo! chants. The matchup started slow, with neither guy looking to engage much on the feet for the first minute. Lawal had his hands down and was waving Gracie in to engage. Gracie didn't. Mo lands a couple of jabs to the body. Gracie pawed with a jab but didn't connect. Gracie finally threw a kick and landed a knee to the body. Gracie threw a flying knee. I never thought I'd type that sentence. The referee encouraged the fighters to work with 90 seconds to go, but it didn't help much. The crowd was booing, and with good reason. For now, anyway.
Then out of nowhere, Lawal finally landed the huge right hand he had thrown four or five times before, and Gracie collapsed to the mat. Mo rushed in and landed two more shots, and the referee jumped in. Gracie wasn't completely unconscious, but he was definitely in dreamland.
This was Lawal's first bout in over a year due to a knee injury he suffered when he lost his Strikeforce light heavyweight title to Rafael Cavalcante last August. Gracie is a multiple-time world champion in BJJ.