Muhammed Lawal vs. Ryan Bader Bellator 199 Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction - 5/12/18
Bader vs. Lawal
Bellator: Saturday, May 12, 2018 (SAP Center)
The Line: Lawal +275 / Bader -335 -- Over/Under: 2.5 See the Latest Odds
TV: Paramount Network
Muhammed Lawal and Ryan Bader fight Saturday during Bellator 199 at the SAP Center.
Muhammed Lawal enters this fight with a 21-6 record and has won 62 percent of his fights by knockout. Lawal has won nine of his last 11 fights and is coming off a March win over Quinton Jackson. Lawal bounced back nicely from his loss to Mirko Cro Cop after controlling three rounds in his heavyweight debut, but he hasn’t fought in over a year after scheduled bouts against Liam McGeary and Bader were canceled due to various injuries. It’s going to be interesting to see if there’s any rust for the aging Lawal, as that’s a lot of time away from the sport. Lawal is a smart fighter who is a strong striker with a deep wrestling background, which allows him to hold his own wherever the fight ends up. Lawal is highly effective with his takedowns and has a vicious ground and pound attack, and he’s won 13 of his fights by knockout. While he is getting up there in age, now 37 years old, Lawal is still an athletic, powerful fighter who is fun to watch and shouldn’t be taken lightly. In 28 total fights, Lawal has never had a fight end in submission. This will be Lawal’s sixth career fight in California.
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Ryan Bader enters this fight with a 24-5 record and is winning 46 percent of his fights by decision. Bader has won nine of his last 10 fights and is coming off a November win over Linton Vassell. Bader is now 2-0 under the Bellator banner after a lengthy UFC career, and he’s coming off a nasty second round knockout in defense of his Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship. Bader hasn’t lost a fight since his 2016 bout against Anthony Johnson and has won three of his last four fights by knockout. Bader clearly still has something left in the tank at almost 35 years old. Bader is obviously a polished wrestler who is aggressive with his takedowns and has four career submission victories, but he’s also a powerful striker who lands nasty body shots and is very athletic when rushing his opponent. Whether it’s a flying knee or just rushing in with combinations, Bader looks to alway be the aggressor and can end things quickly despite not winning a fight in the first round in five years. This will be Bader’s third career fight in California.
Bader is the taller fighter, but he’s giving away a five-inch reach advantage to Lawal, which is key in a striking battle. Yes, both of these guys have a wrestling background, but their bread and butter is the striking ability and the power behind those hands. Whether good or bad, Lawal’s fights usually end in a knockout and those percentages only increase the older fighters get, as the stamina and conditioning go with it. With all that said, I’m not sure how you bet against Bader here. He’s the younger, more aggressive and athletic fighter at this stage of his career and has a nasty striking attack that a dude who has been knocked out three times doesn’t want to face.
I’m not trying to lay this type of juice, but Bader should win this fight.