Emanuel Newton On Win Over “King Mo” Lawal: “In Boxing, You Don’t Have to Worry About Spinning Backfists But In MMA You Do”
“Not Looking Past” Bellator Finals Opponent Mikhail Zayats
By Kelsey Mowatt
For several years, the name Emanuel Newton been a familiar one with MMA insiders and hardcore fans, thanks to several notable wins and securing titles with organizations like the Maximum Fighting Championship. In just a matter of weeks, however, Newton has seen his profile rise dramatically, thanks in no small part to his unforgettable, spinning backfist KO of “King Mo” Lawal at Bellator 90.
“Oh yeah; huge change,” Newton told Full Contact Fighter, while discussing the attention his knockout of Lawal has garnered him. “Even just walking out at the mall, people saying ‘oh man I saw your fight; saw you knockout King Mo’, it’s cool man.”
Of course, not only was the memorable stoppage win broadcast live on SPIKE TV, but video of the KO was picked up by dozens of online media outlets.
“I’m enjoying it. I wouldn’t say I’m a private person, but I just like to chill,” Newton furthered. “I’m a pretty relaxed guy, I’m not big on ‘oh you know, look at me, look at me, look at my chain, look at all the MMA clothes that I wear”, that’s just not me. I’m just a normal guy so for people to notice me in the mall was pretty cool.”
While Newton still has some tough work ahead of him, as he will face surging vet Mikhail Zayats in the Bellator light-heavyweight tourney finale, there’s no question that his career has reached a new level. While the road to success for most fighter’s is a long one, Newton’s path was violently halted by a motorcycle accident in 2007, which required months of recovery.
“People say, if you could go back and stop yourself before you had the motorcycle accident, would you? And I say no I wouldn’t,” said Newton, who has gone 8-2 in his last ten fights, with his only losses during stretch coming to current Bellator champ Attila Vegh and UFC vet Ryan Jimmo. “I believe in everything happening for a reason and I believe that everything that happened to me was just leading up to where I am today.”
“I’m more humble; I’m going to be able to handle winning more fights, and getting more famous,” Newton added. “That’s what comes with being a good mixed-martial-artist and I think I’m ready for that. I’m ready to be humble and understanding of people.”
Newton not only became just the second man to defeat Lawal on February 21st, but he ended the renowned fighter’s first tournament run, after Bellator signed the former Strikeforce champ to a mixed, MMA and pro-wrestling contract.
“I think it was King being King Mo,” said Newton, whiled discussing whether he believed Lawal was too carefree in their fight. “Which is ‘I’m not worried about you, I’m going to get you, it doesn’t make a difference what you do.’ I also think that with all the hype, he was really hyped up; I think he went into the fight thinking he was better in the striking department.”
“His head was really blown up with everyone saying ‘you’re going to walk through this guy, this guy’s nothing to you,” Newton added. “I went in there and I had a tactical striking game and it came out on top over his boxing. In boxing you don’t have to worry about spinning backfists but in MMA you do.”
Up next, Newton will face the aforementioned Zayats, who is another fighter that has scored an upset victory during the latest Bellator tourney. In the opening round of the competition, the Rusfighters Sports Club member stopped another of Bellator’s big name signings in Renato Sobral, before tapping out Jacob Noe in the semifinals.
“I’m definitely not looking past the guy,” Newton added. “He’s a dangerous opponent. He is smaller, the Europeans and Russian fighters don’t like to cut weight…I think I will be stronger than him, so I’m definitely going to have to take advantage of that. I’m just going to go whereever with this fight. I don’t think he’s really better than me in any area.”
Although no date has been confirmed for the upcoming finale between Newton and Zayats yet, the former informed FCF that the fight will likely take place at the end of March or in early April.
The full interview with Newton will be included in this week’s episode of Full Contact Fighter Radio.