Earlier this year, Emanuel Newton scored a shocking first round knockout over Muhammed Lawal at Bellator 90, spoiling the promotional debut of "King Mo" in highlight-reel fashion.
Tonight (Sat., Nov. 2, 2013), Lawal had his opportunity for revenge at Bellator 106, which took place at Long Beach Arena in Long Beach, Calif., airing live on Spike TV.
And he blew it.
For a guy who called Newton's spinning backfist "lucky," Lawal did pretty much everything in hos power to keep the bout horizontal early. He clearly didn't want to get "caught" again with some unrpedictable Kung Fu-type stuff. Newton actually uncorked a spinning back-kick, but Lawal saw it coming from a mile away and tackled him.
Lawal landed the most significant shots of Light Heavyweight interim title match along the cage with a nice flurry that "Hardcore Kid" ultimately weathered without much distress.
"King Mo" went back to his wrestling roots again in the second round in addition to mixing it up on the feet. On a break, Newton connected with a head kick that dazed Lawal and sent him peddling backward. Newton charged in for a finish, but this time Lawal was able to sprawl-and-brawl his way out of peril.
By the time the round was over, Lawal seemed to have his mind right, but his hands once again were by his side rather than up around his head.
With a round apiece, Lawal and Newton came out for round three looking to either score a decisive finish or pull away on the scorecards. The pair exchange nice punches, but it was clear that Newton was intent on using his legs to keep Lawal guessing. Rather than use the legs for takedowns, Lawal instead opted to trade leather, his wrestling seemingly no longer an option.
Indeed, Lawal was just lining him up, looking to land the one big shot that would set up a finish. It didn't come, with the 205-pound rematch headed for the "championship rounds."
Lawal, hands down, continued to stalk Newton, who continued to punch and (spin) kick with moderate success. Lawal, finally, went back to the wrestling, but Newton was quick to shuck him off on continue his shtick. With about two minutes remaining in round four, Lawal was able to score a takedown, although he was seemingly to tired to do anything with it as Newton climbed back to his feet quickly.
Nothing significant for either fighter as the bout moved to the fifth and final round with the bout seemingly in Newton's favor.
Newton flipped the script to start round five, taking the fight to "King Mo" before going back to the punch and spin-kick strategy. "King Mo," likely down on the scorecards, didn't really exhibit a sense of urgency, still head hunting and looking for the one-hit quitter that was absent all night.
"King Mo" got another takedown with about 20 seconds left in the bout, but it was meaningless as Newton got back up and attempted a diving takedown of his own at the buzzer.
And so, too, was all his pre-fight jib-jab that he was a better fighter than Newton, who went on to earn a lopsided unanimous decision much to the shock of Lawal ... and perhaps only Lawal.
Newton will now take on Light Heavyweight Champion Attila Vegh, who was mysteriously "sidelined" two months ago with a shoulder injury, in a 205-pound world title unification match in the near future.
For complete Bellator 106: "Chandler vs. Alvarez 2" results, including complete play-by-play coverage of the Spike TV main card, click here.