Bellator’s Emanuel Newton: “Usually When I Lock Up a Body Lock You’re Going For a Ride”
Veteran Hoping to Make Most of “Biggest Opportunity” in Career
By Kelsey Mowatt
After going eight months without getting an opportunity to extend his five fight winning streak, not only did Emanuel Newton get offered a high profile bout recently, he was given a chance to entrench two more. Last month, Bellator came calling on Newton to fight in the promotion’s ongoing light-heavyweight tournament, handing the veteran just the kind of opportunity he had been waiting for.
“It’s huge for me to get into Bellator right now,” said the 28 year-old-fighter, who tapped out Roy Boughton with a second round, rear-naked-choke in the competition’s quarterfinals. “Before this last fight I hadn’t fought since November, so I was just sitting around, just teaching a lot, so when this opportunity came, even though I really only had a week and a half to get ready for it, I had to take it.”
“I’m really glad I did,” Newton (18-6) added. “This is the biggest opportunity I’ve had in my fighting career, in the ten years I’ve been fighting in MMA.”
Prior to facing Boughton on June 22nd, Newton had not fought since he tapped out UFC veteran James McSweeney, at a Superior Cage Combat event in November.
“I had been looking around for fights, in and around the area, and I talked to Ed Soares,” said the California fighter. “I was trying to get on a Samurai Pro show, but then he came to me and said “I have this Bellator deal for you, I can get you in the tournament,” and I said ‘oh for sure’, so Ed hooked me up getting into the organization.”
In the tourney’s opening round, Newton faced the aforementioned 23 year-old Boughton (8-3), a rising prospect and BJJ purple belt under Cesar Gracie.
“I think my performance could have been better, but I won, so I guess that’s all that matters,” said Newton, who ended Boughton’s three fight winning streak. “I’ve always been lucky that I can get in shape in a short amount of time, but, I definitely felt some muscular fatigue. I locked up some body locks on Roy a couple of times, and usually when I lock up a body lock you’re going for a ride. That’s just how I am.”
“After that first slam I definitely didn’t have much left in my muscles,” Newton furthered. “My cardio was fine but my muscles were very fatigued.”
Newton’s wrestling played a pivotal role in his win over Boughton, as the Reign MMA fighter not only scored a couple of takedowns, but his grappling abilities set up the fight ending choke.
“My wrestling is the biggest part of my game, especially Greco,” said Newton, whose wrestling experience includes competing at the college level. “There’s Greco aspects in everything and I don’t think it’s used enough in MMA. There’s a lot of freestyle and collegiate style in MMA, but I don’t think there’s enough of the body locks; you can always set up slams out of it, and its safe. If you miss a body lock takedown you can always scramble out of it, or you end up on top, or pummel in.”
Up next, in the tourney semifinals on July 20th, Newton will take on Slovakian vet Attila Vegh (26-4), who quickly submitted Zelg Galesic in the quarterfinals.
“Attila’s a striker, so I’m not going to brawl with him for sure, because those are the kind of guys you get in brawls with and you won’t come out of them,” Newton noted about Vegh, who is riding a seven fight undefeated streak. “You’ll come out waking up on the floor.”
“I don’t want to give away too much of my game-plan, but, definitely stay away from the brawling, and I’ll be in better shape for this one,” Newton furthered. “I’ll definitely look to do a lot of the same things I did to Roy. Roy’s actually a wrestler and jiu-jitsu guy, Attila’s not, so I think you guys can figure out where I’m going to try to take this fight.”
The Bellator 72 card will be hosted by Tampa, Florida’s USF Sun Dome.