Lawal (22-6) defeated Jackson (37-13) via unanimous decision at Bellator 175 on Friday inside AllState Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. All three judges scored the bout 29-28 for Lawal.
The win avenged Lawal's decision loss to Jackson at Bellator 120 in May 2014, which Lawal to this day believes he won. The second fight, which took place at heavyweight, played out very similar to the first, although Jackson wasn't able to capitalize on as many key moments. Lawal came out virtually unscathed.
"In the second round, I got hit a few times," Lawal said. "One time, I was cross-eyed. I was seeing four Quintons. I had to dog him out."
Lawal scored an early takedown and easily won the first round by establishing top position, although he did very little damage.
He continued to press Jackson against the fence in the second frame, but he was not as successful in taking him down. Referee John McCarthy broke the two men up at one point for lack of action.
A left hook by Jackson sent Lawal retreating backward, reminding everyone of the former UFC light heavyweight champion's power. Jackson did not appear to be in great condition, however, and Lawal managed to tie him back up and regain his wits relatively easily.
The Illinois crowd booed heavily throughout the third round. Jackson landed one right hand late, before the two stood and traded for the final 10 seconds. Overall, however, Lawal's higher pace and ability to basically hold Jackson up against the fence won him the fight.
For Lawal, 36, it's a rebound from a TKO loss to Mirko Filipovic in December. He now will return to his more natural weight class at 205 pounds to take on Ryan Bader (22-5), who had called for an immediate title shot against Phil Davis but said he'd make an "exception" to fight Lawal at Madison Square Garden.
Jackson, of Memphis, saw his five-fight win streak snapped. He weighed in for the fight at 253 pounds. It was the final fight on his Bellator contract.