Emanuel Newton earned another win over ‘King Mo.’ | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
While most fighters typically hope for a quick finish when they step in the cage, Emanuel Newton was actually pleased that his rematch with Muhammed Lawal lasted 25 minutes.
Newton had previously knocked out “King Mo” with a first-round spinning back fist in February, prompting the former Strikeforce champion to call the defeat a fluke. On Saturday night, Newton bested Lawal again, taking a unanimous decision from the NCAA Division 1 All-American at Bellator 106 to win the promotion’s interim light heavyweight title.
“In some parts of me, I’m glad it went all five, because that shows it wasn’t just a lucky, one-punch knockout and that I can compete with the toughest fighters in the world,” Lawal told Sherdog.com after his victory. “I got to show a lot of how my style is different. I don’t think there is anybody in the sport who has a style like mine. I’m able to be Bruce Lee-ish and throw a lot of side kicks, and I think that gets in my opponents’ heads.”
Newton tried to keep his distance through most of the bout, picking and poking from the outside with a variety of kicks while mixing in overhand rights throughout the five-round contest. Though Lawal managed to apply some solid pressure in the first and fifth frames, Newton was able to avoid the brunt of Lawal’s powerful boxing attack and while staving off Lawal’s vaunted takedowns and ground-and-pound.
“[I wanted] to keep him on his toes and keep him thinking. I get into my opponents’ heads, because they don’t know what I’m going to throw next. I know I landed some good shots on him, even to the body,” said Newton. “He said that I didn’t have him hurt, but I know there were a couple of times where I caught him. You can look in your opponent’s eyes and see that it was a good shot.”
Up next, Newton will take on another former adversary in reigning light heavyweight champion Attila Vegh, who outpointed “The Hardcore Kid” in the semifinals of the 2012 Summer Series tournament.
“The last time I fought Attila, I lost a split decision, but it was in his hometown, near [American Top Team] in Tampa. I landed 117 strikes to his 64, plus I got the takedowns and controlled the fight,” said Newton. “I thought I won, but it’s night and day compared to where I am now with my hands and my movement and even my kicking. I think when I fight Attila Vegh this time I’m going to be more prepared, and I’m going to try to finish him.”
Though he now owns two victories over Lawal and stands just one win away from becoming Bellator’s undisputed light heavyweight champion, Newton believes that a third meeting with King Mo is likely in the cards.
“I’m glad it’s over, and I hope I don’t have to hear anymore trash talking. That’s not the kind of person I am, but knowing Mo and all his guys, I’m sure I’m going to hear more,” said Newton. “I’m sure he’s going to climb back up to the top. He’s still the toughest light heavyweight in Bellator. I have a feeling I will see him again.”