Back in July 2012, Emanuel Newton was riding high. Having not lost since 2010, the journeyman mixed martial artist was starting to settle into his new home at Bellator MMA. He had made his Bellator debut only the month earlier advancing in the Bellator 2012 Summer Series Light Heavyweight Tournament over Roy Boynton.
The win was a textbook rear naked choke executed early into the second round. Unfortunately, a controversial split decision loss followed and so went the chance for a tourney win; but the opponent then, and the opponent now, share more than just the same name.
Attila Vegh yet again is the gatekeeper standing in the way of Newton’s dream of gold. Their second pairing tonight will not only decide who sits atop Bellator’s Light Heavyweight World Title ranks but also if Newton will be redeemed.
Since making his debut in the States in 2012 with Bellator, Vegh has gone on a domestic tear. He is 5-0 in Bellator and 29-4-2 overall. Having made a name all across Europe since 2008, Vegh has dominated his Bellator career thus far and it is a safe bet that he is trying to keep it that way.
Newton, however, has made a clear case for why he is not only deserving of the shot but that he has a real chance of dethroning Vegh. Since his loss to Vegh, Newton has beaten Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal not once but twice. The first win over Lawal was a vicious highlight reel spinning back fist KO in the first round. Newton is now 4-0 in Bellator since his last meeting with Vegh and after beating Lawal the second time for the interim Light Heavyweight Championship, this fight will unify the belt determining the true champion.
With the two fighters both never really calling any organization their true home, they have settled quite nicely into the Bellator spectrum, and with a belt on the line the stakes are huge. These two fighters have worked hard around the globe to prove their right to belong on this stage and that might be the reason why their fates are constantly intertwined.
Whoever steps out that cage sits on the mountaintop of the Light Heavyweight division, and with fights like Rampage vs. King Mo on the horizon, the stakes keep rising. Newton is ready to face all but right now, with Vegh in his crosshairs, this bout will be must-see TV.