Bellator 169, scheduled for December 16, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland has announced a matchup between Muhammed Lawal and Japan’s Satoshi Ishii. A year ago the two took part in RIZIN’s ~218lb 8-man tournament. Ishii was battered out in the first round by an unheard of, but nonetheless legitimate, Jiri Prochazka. Lawal went on to win the grueling turnament. Since then, Ishii has taken a split decision loss to Quinton Jackson at Bellator 157.
It seems the Olympic judoka and young Japan heavyweight hope has only been successful against inexperienced opponents, and is transparent in his takedown to top position control gameplan.
Coming into the next bout, this writer has some questions: are Bellator giving King Mo a warm up fight with a fan-pleasing 1st round KO? If so, what’s the follow up matchup? And, is Ishii destined to be a journeyman on the coin of his domestic sponsors, or can he improve his striking?