Tepid first round ends with a bang
On paper, it appeared to be a classic wrestler vs. jiu-jitsu practitioner match-up between one of the fight game’s best self-promotion machines and one of the most decorated prospects to ever come out of the historic Gracie clan.
Everyone expected a bout that was heavy on the grappling; it was anything but.
The two fighters spent the entire first minute of the bout circling each other, feeling out distance.
Gracie landed stiff jabs as Lawal looked to close in. Lawal found his way past Gracie’s reach and landed a left hand. Gracie immediately returned fire with a knee that found a home on Lawal’s chin. Gracie was able to land another knee before settling back into a distance game.
With the final minute of the round counting down, Lawal turned up the intensity with his striking and began to press Gracie. After a brief clinch in the middle of the cage, Lawal landed a big right hand that toppled Gracie to the canvas. Two more shots from the former light heavyweight champion and the fight was over, Lawal handing Gracie the first loss of his young career.
The victory marks a successful return for Lawal after being sidelined following knee surgery. In the post-fight interview, he stated that he wanted to face Rafael “Feijao” Calvacante, the man who took his title and handed him the only loss of his career.