Emanuel Newton shocked many by knocking out “King Mo” Lawal in the semifinals of the Bellator Season 8 Light Heavyweight Tournament in February. Lawal defeated Seth Petruzelli and Jacob Noe in his next two outings to earn a rematch with Newton for the interim Bellator Light Heavyweight title on Saturday at Long Beach Arena in Long Beach, Calif.
Lawal wasted little time getting the fight to the ground. Newton battled back to his feet, but Lawal kept the pressure on. As Newton stood, Lawal landed a series of right hands. He secured a third takedown with two minutes remaining in the round, but was unable to keep Newton on his back. Lawal began to clown Newton in the closing seconds of the opening round.
They stood and traded shots in the beginning of the second frame. Lawal took Netwon down, but was unable to keep him there. Newton landed a high kick that hurt Lawal, but Lawal recovered. Newton continued to move forward, winning the round.
Newton’s right hand began to land more regularly and he mixed in kicks to the body in the third. Lawal moved forward, but was met with punches and kicks. The momentum was squarely in Newton’s favor at the end of the third round.
Newton started employing a spinning kick attack in the fourth frame. Lawal got the fight to the ground, but was again unable to keep Newton on the canvas. Newton was largely neutralizing Lawal by striking in volume.
The action picked up in the final round. They exchanged right hands and began unloading power shots. Lawal secured a late takedown, but Newton bounced back to his feet. The judges would decide who won, but it looked as if Newton had done enough.
The judges scored the fight for Newton by unanimous decision. All three scorecards read 49-46.
“I can’t even describe the feeling I have right now. I worked so hard for this,” said Newton after the win. “I’m not going to face another wrestler like that in MMA and that makes me very excited.”
Newton will face Attila Vegh in a unification bout in his next outing. The two previously fought in July 2012 with Vegh winning a split decision.