Bellator’s Emanuel Newton Expecting to Fight “King Mo” Lawal Next, But “Anything Can Happen…It’s Like Any Given Sunday, But For Us It’s Any Given Thursday”
By Kelsey Mowatt
While many throughout the MMA world will be tuning into tonight’s Bellator card to catch the promotional debut of “King Mo” Lawal, one of the most interested viewers will certainly be Emanuel Newton. After scoring a submission win over Atanas Djambazov last Thursday, in one of three opening round bouts that took place in Bellator’s latest light-heavyweight tourney, Newton will find out tonight whether he fights Lawal or Przemyslaw Mysiala next.
“I think it’s going to be Mo but I’m not exactly sure,” Newton said on Full Contact Fighter Radio this week. “I’m sure they weren’t expecting “Babalu” (Renato Sobral) to lose and I don’t think they were expecting Seth (Petruzelli) to lose either, so that might change some things up, so we’ll see.”
As Newton mentioned, two of the tourney’s biggest names in Sobral and Petruzelli were defeated in their quarterfinal fights, as the UFC vets were stopped by Mikhail Zayats and Jacob Noe respectively. Although most people likely had both Petruzelli and Sobral advancing to the semifinals, last week’s victories haven’t changed the fact that Lawal will be the heavy favorite tonight versus Mysiala.
“It’s just a matter of who I’m going to get next,” Newton (19-7-1) furthered. “Mo’s got this fight coming up, which I feel, he’s going to go right through this guy, but you never know. Look what happened with Babalu and Seth. I’m sure they thought the same too. It’s MMA; anything can happen. It’s like “Any Given Sunday”, except for us it’s going to be “any given Thursday.” You make one mistake, and the guy capitalizes on it, it’s over.”
Lawal (8-1, 1 NC) is one of the biggest names to be added to the Bellator roster in recent months, due to a resume that includes a Strikeforce championship and a decorated wrestling career.
“Mo’s an amazing wrestler,” said Newton, when asked to assess the abilities of Lawal, who also signed a contract to wrestle professionally with TNA when he came on board with Bellator. “He’s very explosive; very fast, so he’s good everywhere. He’s good on his feet and he has good wrestling, so it’s just going to be a matter of being able to compete with him in all those areas, and be sure that I can push the pace, give back what he gives me.”
“I think that’s good for my style,” added Newton, who also wrestled in college. “I can take a punch, and I have a high output of striking…I think it’s going to be on points if I were to fight him. Who’s got more points? Who’s landing more strikes? Who’s being busier? Who’s being more active?”
Newton ensured that he will face the winner of tonight’s Lawal-Mysiala bout, by taking out Djambazov last Thursday with a second round, rear-naked-choke. The win returned Newton to the winner’s column, after he lost a tightly contested, split decision loss to Attila Vegh last July.
“I liked the performance. I think I brawled a little too much, maybe played into his game,” Newton said, when asked to review his victory over Djambazov, which marked his fourth win in his last five fights. “He was that kind of guy; come fast, come hard, but once I took one of his punches it didn’t phase me or ring my bell at all, so, I said “alright, we’ll stay here”, and I looked to break him down with the kicks to the body. I think that’s what got him tired.”
“That first round, when he was coming in, I took a couple of punches, but I never take anything on my chin,” the 29 year-old Newton added. “It’s always on my forehead or my arms, so I think that’s something I do very well…I heard him gasping for air a couple of times after hitting the kicks. I think that broke his body down and enabled me to get the finish.”
Tonight’s Bellator card will be hosted by the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma, and will be broadcast live on SPIKE.