Emanuel Newton played with fire, and he did not get burned.
Newton retained the Bellator MMA light heavyweight champions, as he submitted Linton Vassell with a rear-naked choke in the fifth round of their entertaining Bellator 130 headliner on Friday at the Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane, Kan. Vassell (14-4, 3-1 Bellator) asked out of the match 47 seconds into round five, halting a career-best nine-fight winning streak.
The champion wandered into trouble early and often. Vassell achieved full mount on multiple occasions in the first two rounds, threatening “The Hardcore Kid” with various submissions. A second-round kimura was particularly dangerous and nearly ended Newton’s reign at 205 pounds, but the Reign MMA and Kings MMA rep managed to escape. Vassell’s inability to finish came back to haunt him.
Newton (25-7, 8-1 Bellator) responded with a strong third round. There, he tagged a fading Vassell with more than one overhand right, struck for a takedown and scored with ground-and-pound. The scene repeated itself in the fourth, and by the start of the fifth, the challenger had little left in the tank. Newton executed a takedown inside 15 seconds, transitioned to the back and completed the no-hooks choke.
Related: Bellator 130 Play-by-Play
Lashley Overpowers, Mauls Etherington
In the heavyweight co-main event, American Top Team’s Bobby Lashley struck the previously unbeaten Karl Etherington into submission with first-round punches. Lashley (12-2, 2-0 Bellator) brought it to a close 91 seconds into round one, extending his winning streak to five fights.
A failed judo throw proved to be Etherington’s undoing. The 39-year-old Englishman fell to the mat and immediately covered up in a prone position. A former World Wrestling Entertainment star, Lashley unleashed with a burst of punches, resulting in a tapout from Etherington (9-1, 0-1 Bellator).
Coenen Choke Submits Bucci
Former Strikeforce champion Marloes Coenen submitted Italian kickboxer Annalisa Bucci with a third-round rear-naked choke in a featured women’s featherweight contest. Bucci (7-4, 0-1 Bellator), who had posted six wins in her previous seven appearances, conceded defeat 57 seconds into round three.
Coenen (22-6, 1-0 Bellator) controlled every aspect of the fight. The 33-year-old struck for takedowns in all three rounds and toyed with Bucci on the ground, as she was effective in top position and from her back. Early in round three, Coenen dragged her counterpart back to the mat, cinched a modified choke from the side and cut off all avenues for escape.
Jansen Wins Seventh Straight
A relentless stream of leg kicks paired with an undying pace carried World Extreme Cagefighting veteran Dave Jansen to a unanimous decision over Tristar Gym representative Rick Hawn in a lightweight showcase. All three cageside judges scored it for Jansen (20-2, 7-0 Bellator): 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27.
Hawn (18-4, 10-4 Bellator) never got in gear. Jansen kept him at bay from the outside, peppering the inside and outside of his lead leg with one kick after another. His commitment paid dividends, as Hawn grew more tentative and more frustrated with each passing moment.
Jansen more than held his own in the exchanges. The 35-year-old mixed in kicks to the body and head, along with high-volume punching combinations, and cruised to the finish line for his seventh straight win.
Prelims: Prospect Caldwell Stays Unbeaten
In preliminary action, Power MMA Team prospect Darrion Caldwell (6-0, 3-0 Bellator) earned a unanimous verdict against Anthony Dizy (5-1, 0-1 Bellator) in their 15-minute featherweight duel, sweeping the scorecards with 30-27s across the board; David Rickels (16-3, 10-3 Bellator) posted a unanimous decision over the previously unbeaten Davi Ramos (4-1, 0-1 Bellator) in their three-round pairing at 155 pounds; Philadelphia Fight Factory export Sam Oropeza (12-2, 4-1 Bellator) stopped Gary Tapusoa (8-3, 0-1 Bellator) with punches and elbows 2:31 into the first round of their middleweight encounter; Daniel Gallemore (4-2, 3-0 Bellator) dispatched Gzim Selmani (4-2, 0-1 Bellator) with punches 4:33 into round two of their heavyweight affair; King of the Cage and Titan Fighting Championship alum Marcio Navarro (13-11, 2-2 Bellator) struck Cody Carrillo (8-10, 0-4 Bellator) with punches 2:09 into the third round of their tussle at 155 pounds; Ricky Musgrave (13-4, 2-0 Bellator) dismissed Joe Wilk (18-10, 0-1 Bellator) with unanswered elbows 2:45 into the first round of their featherweight duel; Aaron Derrow (14-8, 1-0 Bellator) picked up a unanimous decis ion over Nate Jolley (13-7, 0-2 Bellator) in their three-round lightweight clash, drawing 29-28 marks from all three judges; and Alex Huddleston (5-1, 1-0 Bellator) recorded his fourth consecutive victory, as he took care of Derek Bohi (4-3, 0-1 Bellator) with punches 4:04 into the first round of their heavyweight battle.