Newton's Second Law, otherwise known as mass times acceleration equals force, applies to many things, and back on February 20 at Bellator 90, it was befitting of a man with the same last name.
On that evening, Emanuel Newton was facing Muhammed Lawal in the Season Eight Light Heavyweight Tournament semifinal round; the formula for this occasion was the speed of a spinning back fist connecting with Lawal's chin, equaling a highlight-reel knockout.
Their 205-pound tilt was a little over the halfway mark in the first round, when Newton threw a big right hand that Lawal slipped. He then looked out in the corner of his eye, threw the spinning back fist with his left and connected perfectly, knocking Lawal unconscious.
It would undoubtedly fall under the clichéd "upset of epic proportions" category.
Newton had put an abrupt stop on Lawal's oft-predicted tournament run, sending the former Strikeforce champion back to the drawing board, and himself on to the finals where he would dispatch of Mikhail Zayatts by unanimous decision at Bellator 94. After being crowned the Season 8 light heavyweight tournament winner, Newton was set to face current light heavyweight champion Attila Vegh at Bellator 106, the promotion's inaugural journey into pay-per-view (PPV).
As we all learned last weekend, the card will no longer be on PPV, which Newton says, "doesn't change anything."
Although, something that did change for Newton, prior to the unfortunate news, was his original opponent, and the title he would be fighting for. A supposed training injury to Vegh (more on that here) would set the stage for the rematch with Lawal, this time for the interim light heavyweight title. Newton was set to fight the current champion for the Bellator 205-pound title at Bellator 106.
Was the news of the opponent change aggravating?
"No. I really had a feeling I was going to be fighting Mo again," Newton told MMAmania.com recently. "The last fight between me and Attila wasn't a barnburner. It wasn't something I think the fans want to see again. Definitely the fight with me and Mo, he's the golden boy... They invested a lot of money in him.
"They were expecting him to be a lot more fruitful, than him going out there and getting knocked out by me. I definitely expected this fight to happen again. I'm not really bothered by it. I'm just ready to go out there and put a stamp on finishing him this time, so I won't have to hear it from him anymore, or hear it from the critics, and shut everybody's mouth."
Newton is talking about the belief that he was lucky the first time and his victory was simply a fluke. Lawal suggested as much in several interviews, and also added that his technique was feminine in another. That doesn't bother "The Hardcore Kid." He is a religious man, and he feels he has a higher power behind him.
"I don't let it very much irritate me," Newton admits. "I just know that I have to go out there and prove it wasn't a fluke, and I'm going to go out there and prove it wasn't a fluke. I got God in my corner, and with God in my corner, no one can stand against me."
Lawal was expected to win last time, and is predicted by many pundits to earn the victory in the rematch on Saturday night. That would suggest that the majority of the pressure is on Mo. Newton feels it's just about even.
"I think it's equal, because if Mo doesn't go out there and completely and totally demolish me, than it doesn't look good for him," Newton explained. "If I don't go out there and destroy him again, than it looks bad for me. I think it's 50/50, or 40/60 maybe going my way more. It doesn't matter. I'm up to the challenge. I think God put him in my path again for me to prove a point and to prove a point to the critics, all the fans, and all the naysayers out there."
Since the knockout loss to Newton, Lawal has gone away from striking while keeping his hands down, and returned to using his wrestling. It has paid dividends as he blew past Seth Petruzelli and Jacob Noe to win the Bellator summer series light heavyweight tournament.
Does Newton take credit for Lawal's reversion in style?
Newton laughed a little before saying, "I take some credit for him not being as cocky his past couple of fights. He's definitely been a little more conscious. If you noticed, he kept his hands up when he fought Noe. He kept his hands up when he fought Seth. He didn't try to stay on the outside and be Floyd Mayweather. I definitely think the knockout knocked him back to his old ways."
Lawal has always been an outstanding wrestler, and that skill set is something that Newton is "100 percent" expectant on seeing at Bellator 106.
"I am expecting the wrestling Mo to come back," Newton said. "Especially getting knocked out like that, I think it might make you a little more hesitant to be on your feet in general. I'm definitely looking to see him shoot a lot more, and use his punches, long arms and big hands and set up the takedowns instead of trying to knock me out so much on my feet.
"At the same time, he is still dangerous on the feet too. I'm just ready for wherever the fight goes. It doesn't make any difference. I'm going to go out there next Saturday and it doesn't matter if it's the old Mo, the new Mo, the past Mo, I'm coming out there to get that belt, and get that win because it's my time."
Lawal has said quite a bit about Newton from after the last fight, to the current buildup of the rematch, including calling Newton a "black skinhead."
"I'm not much of a trash talker, Newton said. "I just go out there to fight and get it done. That's what it's about. I don't have any animosity towards Mo. I mean, he's been talking a lot of crap. The thing that's confusing to me is he's saying I've been talking crap."
"The Hardcore Kid" who lists Guns Up, Champion, Strife and Sick of it All as some of his favorite bands, suggests Lawal just "doesn't understand" who he is.
"He's used to every black man being ghetto and listening to rap music and walking around with big headphones in his ears and blacks in rap music," Newton states. "That's not me. That's not the way I was raised. That's not my personality. I'm a hardcore kid. I listen to hardcore music."
He continued, bringing it back to religious aspects. "I'm a Christian God-fearing man. God doesn't like cockiness. He doesn't like arrogance. He especially doesn't like a man who proclaims himself to be a king. There wasn't a mass of people who voted Mo to be a king. That's another reason why I think I'm going to get this victory because we are completely and totally two different people.
"I am the opposite of Mo. I am very humble and I'm very passive. I don't talk crap about anybody let alone my fight opponents. I just think it's my time. I think Mo is confused. It's fine because just like he's confused by my personality, he's confused by the person that I am, it also shows that he's going to be confused by my style of fighting when we step in the ring next Saturday."
*Note: Interview was conducted prior to Newton's appearance on Monday's MMA Hour.