How High Can New Bellator Champ Attila Vegh Climb?

Matt MolgaardCorrespondent IIIMarch 1, 2013

Photo courtesy of Sherdog
Photo courtesy of Sherdog

Attila Vegh is Bellator’s official light heavyweight champion today after handily out-hustling Christian M'Pumbu for five rounds last night in the main event of Bellator 91.

Vegh used aggression and a varied offense to grind M’Pumbu down for 25 minutes.

It was an impressive win for the Slovakia-born light heavyweight, who moves his Bellator record to 5-0. Vegh now boasts 29 total professional victories against only four defeats and a pair of draws.

Having already secured victories against the likes of M'Pumbu, Travis Wiuff, Emanuel Newton and Zelg Galesic, Vegh has made a statement: tough competition doesn’t intimidate him.

His next challenger likely comes in the form of the current tournament victor. Mikhail Zayats and Emanuel Newton have punched their tickets to the tourney final and will meet sometime in the weeks to come. Both men propose different weapons and strengths. Both are very experienced.

Newton has already battled Vegh. The two met at Bellator 72, where Vegh eked out a razor-thin split decision win. Despite having failed to earn a W in that fight, the experience alone should prove a confidence booster for “The Hardcore Kid.”

He knows exactly what to expect of the current champion. He’s taken him to the brink and (in the eyes of some) arguably deserved the nod in doing so.

Zayats isn’t quite as explosive as Newton, but he’s crafty. He knows how to win, where to win and when to be there to capitalize on the opening. That’s instinctual, you don’t just learn that, you’re born with it, you develop and master it.

Zayats can dethrone Vegh with strikes, and he can use some underrated submission skills to end the fight. He’s got options. The question is, does he have the physical fortitude to stand up to the heavy hands of Vegh?

Some of the proposed questions will be answered in the months to come. But plenty of questions still hang in the balance.

What if Vegh manages to beat the season 8 light heavyweight tournament winner? Who gets thrown to the lion?

There’s no doubt the promotion had hoped to continue building Muhammed Lawal as an outspoken and always-dangerous superstar.

Newton threw a monkey wrench right at those plans at Bellator 90 when he left Lawal a half-conscious, crumpled up mess on the canvas after a perfectly placed spinning back-fist stiffened the former Strikeforce champion in the first round.

Renato “Babalu” Sobral currently competes for Bellator, but he too is coming off a first-round stoppage defeat administered by Mikhail Zayats.

Having already beaten a handful of the promotion’s best light heavyweights, Vegh has few options as light heavyweight champion.

If he blasts his way through his next challenger, he’ll already sit in a shaky seat with little in the way of clearly-defined challengers waiting in the wings.

It may be time for Bjorn Rebney to do a little extra talent scouting.

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