Emanuel Newton survives multiple submissions, retains title and sets up title fight against Liam McGeary

Emanuel Newton entered the Kansas Star Casino on Friday night as the undisputed Bellator light heavyweight champion and he would end up walking away with the title after weathering an early storm by Linton Vassell.

Daniel Dahlback - The MMA Report
Daniel Dahlback – The MMA Report

Vassell appeared close to ending the title reign of Newton in the first and second round as we went for various submissions.

According to the Compustrike stats, Vassell attempted three submissions in the fight and Newton was able to find a way out of the submissions.

As the fight moved into the championship rounds, Newton showed the heart of a champion and took over the fight. In the fourth round, he went against the advice of his corner as they wanted to see Newton keep the fight on the feet. However, he took the fight to the ground and would land 60 strikes, compared to the 1 by Vassell.

The end of the fight came in the opening minute of the final round as Newton got the fight back to the ground and would submit Vassell with a rear-naked choke. It’s the third submission victory for Newton, which ties Mike Mucitelli for the most in Bellator light heavyweight division history.

The victory sets up Newton’s next title defense, which will be against another fighter from England as he is expected to face Liam McGeary. While Newton has now successfully defended the Bellator title two times in 43 days, there are many questions that surround him after his wins over Joey Beltran and Vassell.

He found himself down in both of those fights and many mixed martial arts observers were questioning him tonight on how he was fighting Vassell. One of the questions about Newton tonight was his fighter IQ. Even though he was winning the fight on the feet, he elected to take the fight to the ground, which was in reality the only way Vassell was going to win that fight.

If Newton continues to find himself down in title fights heading into the third round, we have to believe at some point this will catch up to him and he will be unable to walk out of the cage with the Bellator title like he has done in both of his title defenses.