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Bellator 233: Former Oklahoma State wrestlers Kyle Crutchmer, Muhammed Lawal to fight

Crutchmer will make his Bellator debut, while Lawal will have his retirement fight.

Bellator 169 & BAMMA 27 Press Conference Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Oklahoma State wrestling alums Kyle Crutchmer and Muhammed Lawal’s careers are going in two different directions.

Crutchmer will make his Bellator debut Friday, while Lawal will take off his gloves one last time as he’s set to retire at Bellator 233 at WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma.

Crutchmer (4-0) takes on Robert Gidron (4-3), who announced as Crutchmer’s opponent Wednesday after Antonio Jones dropped out, in a welterweight bout in the fourth contest on the preliminary card. Lawal (21-9, 10-6 Bellator) will fight Andrew Kapel (14-6) in the co-main event.

The 26-year-old Crutchmer looks to be the next great OSU wrestler in MMA. The two-time All-American is training with the best at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California, with fellow OSU alum and future UFC Hall of Famer Daniel Cormier and current UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Even though Crutchmer is based in California, the Tulsa Union High product hasn’t fought outside of Oklahoma.

Lawal was once considered one of the best light heavyweights but the 38-year-old has lost his last three fights. The former Strikeforce champion announced his retirement in April following his loss to Jiri Prochazka in the Japanese-based promotion Rizin. Lawal, a former All-American and 2003 NCAA national team champion, last won by unanimous decision against his longtime rival Quinton Jackson in 2017.

Lawal has started to transition into a coaching role at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida, alongside fellow OSU alum Steve Mocco. Kapel, who has won four straight, will make his Bellator debut.

How to watch

What: Bellator 233

When: 5:45 p.m. (prelims), 8 p.m. (main card) Friday

Where: WinStar World Casino; Thackerville, Oklahoma

Live stream: Bellator.com and Bellator app (prelims)

TV: Paramount Network (main card)