Bellator 124 results: Emanuel Newton defends title with another spinning backfist
Bellator light heavyweight champion Emanuel Newtonis like the ocean – never turn your back on him.
Newton (24-7-1 MMA, 7-1 BMMA) was on his bicycle for much of his first defense of the undisputed title as MMA vet Joey Beltran (15-11 MMA, 2-2 BMMA) chased him across the cage and threw flurries of punches that often found their target.
Then Newton turned the tide in a moment’s notice as Beltran walked straight into a spinning backfist that knocked him out cold and kept the belt stationary. It was deja vu for the 30-year-old champ, who delivered a career performance 10 months ago when he knocked out Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal with the same strike to win the interim title.
The official end came at the 3:07 mark of the third round as the referee intervened to save Beltran in the main event of Bellator 124, which took place at Compuware Arena in Plymouth Township, Mich., outside Detroit. The main card aired on Spike TV following prelims on Spike.com.
Newton admitted he was low on energy after a dietary experiment that involved not eating prior to his fight.
“I’ll never try that again,” said the 30-year-old champ, who will next defend his title against Summer Series tournament winner Liam McGeary.
Newton has now won six straight fights since a controversial split-call loss to former champ Atilla Vegh in Bellator’s Season 8 tourney. Beltran drops to 2-2 in the promotion.
Liam McGeary pulls off 3rd inverted triangle sub in Bellator history
Another Bellator fight, another first-round finish for light heavyweight Liam McGeary (9-0 MMA, 6-0 BMMA). The lanky Brit won the promotion’s Summer Series tournament and earned a title shot at champ Emanuel Newtown by submitting Kelly Anundson (9-3 MMA, 3-1 BMMA) with the rarely-seen inverted triangle.
It looked like McGeary was on his way to being smothered and eating punches on the mat when Anundson landed an early takedown. But in an unusual twist, he managed to snake his legs around Anundson’s neck and elicit a quick tap.
That wasn’t the extent of McGeary’s creativity, however. In reality, the fight could have been called off when he cranked on an americana arm lock from his back and brought a pair of painful cries from Anundson.
The fight’s official end came at the 4:47 mark of the first round, keeping intact McGeary’s unbeaten record and sixth straight win in Bellator. The promotion has promised to honor the title shots earned by the winners of its remaining tournaments, so that means McGeary should be in line to fight Newton, who would win 30 minutes later in the main event.
“I want to fight Emanuel Newton,” he said. “It would be an honor to fight him.”
L.C. Davis smothers Zeilton Rodrigues
WEC bantamweight vet L.C. Davis (23-6 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) put on a wrestling clinic against Zeilton Rodrigues (12-4 MMA, 0-1 BMMA), taking the fight to the ground and grinding his way to a unanimous decision.
The final scores were 30-27 three times for Davis, who picked up his second straight win in Bellator.
Early on, Davis threw potshot punches as Rodrigues tried to corner him. The strategy backfired on the Brazilian, a product of the famed Nova Uniao team. Davis took the fight down and held dominant position, resisting Rodrigues’ leg attacks.
Rodrigues was slightly more cautious in the second and third rounds, but the result was the same: Davis put him on the mat and patiently worked ground and pound. Rodrigues rolled for an armbar and briefly got to his feet, but he was unable to do anything significant and suffered a bad cut over his brow in the third round.
Ryan Couture cruises in Bellator debut
Returning to big-show MMA for the first time in 13 months, Ryan Couture (9-3 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) made quick work of last-minute replacement Tom Bagnasco (3-3 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) with his third straight rear-naked choke finish.
Bagnasco, who stepped in when originally scheduled opponent John Schulz wasn’t cleared to fight, was overwhelmed on the mat and tapped out to the submission hold at the 3:01 mark of the opening frame.
“Hats off to Tom, he stepped up on short notice,” Couture said afterward. “He’s kind of unpredictable; I wanted to take him down.
“Once I had his back, I knew it was just a matter of time. I’ve just got to keep taking those steps up the ladder, and one day, I’ll get to the top.”
The two traded leg kicks in the opening seconds of the bout, but in the clinch, they unfortunately traded knees to the groin, which delayed Couture’s apparent plan to grapple. Upon the restart, he put the fight on the mat and advanced to mount. When Bagnasco rolled to escape, however, Couture took the back and locked in a body triangle before cinching his submission.
Bellator 124 results:
- Emanuel Newton def. Joey Beltran via knockout (spinning back fist) – Round 3, 3:07
- Liam McGeary def. Kelly Anundson via submission (inverted triangle choke) – Round 1, 4:40
- L.C. Davis def. Zeilton Rodrigues via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Ryan Couture def. Tom Bagnasco via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 3:01
- Adrian Hadribeaj def. Michael Hamida via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Sabah Homasi def. Eric Moon via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 2, 1:07
- Mike Hernandez def. Thomas Vasquez via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- LeRoy Johnson def. Adrian Henderson via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Jason Fischer def. Tony Hervey via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
- Eric Ramirez def. Cortez Phelia via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 3, 0:24
- Justin Jaynes def. Ruben Baraiac via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 4:17 – 153-pound catchweight
- Ben Reiter def. Shamir Garcia via unanimous decision