Until his arrival on the scene in Bellator, there may have been some fans, but not many, who were familiar with the fighting career of Emanuel Newton. His last few efforts have changed all of that as Newton now finds himself as the organization’s unified light-heavyweight champion after earning a split-decision verdict over Attila Vegh at Bellator 113.
It certainly wasn’t the most thrilling of battles but Newton outworked his opponent over the course of the five-round affair. He pushed the pace, employing a steady stream of leg kicks and kept his opponent off balance throughout with his unorthodox style. Vegh was the harder of the two punchers and actually had some moments but was hampered by too much inactivity.
In the end, Newton emerged with the victory by scores of 49-46, 48-47 while another judge gave the fight to Vegh. With the win Newton avenged a prior decision loss to Vegh at Bellator 72.
It’s been quite a journey for Newton, who looked as though his career was heading south after suffering a third straight loss back in 2009 to current UFC fighter Ryan Jimmo. That matchup happened when both men were competing in the Maximum Fighting Championship promotion. Since that setback, Newton has been a completely different fighter, registering 10 victories in his last 11 fights and is on a current five-fight win streak.
Newton came into prominence in 2013 when he destroyed the heavily favoured Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal in a Bellator Season 8 light-heavyweight tournament semifinal. Newton finished Lawal with a spinning back fist in the opening round to produce one of the biggest upsets and best knockouts of the year. He went on to win the tournament and proved his success against Lawal was no fluke by defeating him again by decision at Bellator 106 to earn the interim title.
With his successful effort in unifying the belt against Vegh in the books, Newton now gets to sit back and wait for the winner of the May 17 showdown between Lawal and Quinton “Rampage “Jackson at Bellator 120. The bout will serve as the co-main event of the organization’s first-ever PPV offering, and the winner will get a title shot at the new champion.
One thing is for certain: whether it’s Lawal again or “Rampage”, neither man can afford the luxury of taking Newton lightly. “The Hardcore Kid” has proven himself to be a highly-skilled 205-pound competitor and is in the midst of one of the best stretches of his career.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports