Emanuel Newton has a surprising opponent for his next title defense. | Keith Mills/Sherdog.com
Bellator MMA light heavyweight champion Emanuel Newton will defend his title against Joey Beltran when Bellator 124 takes place Sept. 12 at Compuware Arena in Plymouth, Mich.
Bellator officials announced the bout in a press release on Tuesday. In addition, the promotion confirmed that Liam McGeary and Kelly Anundson will meet on the same night in the final of the company’s 2014 Summer Series light heavyweight tournament.
Initially an interim champion, Newton unified the belts with a split-decision victory against Attila Vegh at Bellator 113 in March. “The Hardcore Kid” has won 11 of his last 12 fights, including two at the expense of Muhammed Lawal. Best known for his spinning back fist win over “King Mo,” Newton continues to climb the Sherdog.com 205-pound rankings with each outing, as he now sits at No. 10 on the list.
“I’ve been wanting to get back in the cage as soon as possible so I went to Scott Coker and he made this fight happen for me,” Newton stated in the press release. “Beltran is a guy that always pushes the pace and looks for the finish, which plays into my style perfectly. I know he is coming off a nice win against Vladimir Matyushenko, and has been in this game for a while, so I’m excited for the fight and another chance to defend my belt.”
For Beltran, the fight will serve as his first opportunity for a title since signing with the promotion. Prior to his submission victory against Matyushenko at Bellator 116, the former Ultimate Fighting Championship competitor had won two of his last seven tilts (with one no contest). Upon arriving in Bellator, Beltran was tapped to fill in for an injured Tito Ortiz and take on Quinton Jackson, a fight Beltran lost by technical knockout.
“I’m jacked to get this shot against Newton,” Beltran said. “He’s a tough guy, but I’ve been in this sport for a while now and have fought some of the best. I’ve got some good momentum after my last fight, and we’re going to put on a show Sept. 12.”