Emanuel Newton put his light heavyweight title on the line Friday night against Linton Vassell in a scintillating Bellator 130 main event. Vassell appeared ready to take down the champion early in the fight, but an experienced and resilient Newton was able to right the ship and pull out a victory in the final round.
While the card's headline fight was extremely compelling, three feature fights only added to a very strong main card. These fights provided thrills of their own, as Dave Jansen, Marloes Coenen and Bobby Lashley each won their respective bouts in a variety of fashions.
With all of the night's action now in the books, here's a look at the complete results from both the main and preliminary cards, followed by a recap of the featured fights.
|Bellator 130 Results|
|Emanuel Newton vs. Linton Vassell||Newton via R5 submission|
|Bobby Lashley vs. Karl Etherington||Lashley via R1 TKO|
|Marloes Coenen vs. Annalisa Bucci||Coenen via R3 submission|
|Dave Jansen vs. Rick Hawn||Jansen via unanimous decision|
|Ricky Musgrave vs. Joe Wilk||Musgrave via R1 TKO|
|Marcio Navarro vs. Cody Carrillo||Navarro via R3 TKO|
|Daniel Gallemore vs. Gzim Selmani||Gallemore via R2 TKO|
|Sam Oropeza vs. Gary Tapusoa||Oropeza via R1 TKO|
|Darrion Caldwell vs. Anthony Dizy||Caldwell via unanimous decision|
|Aaron Derrow vs. Nate Jolly||Derrow via unanimous decision|
|Alex Huddleston vs. Derek Bohi||Huddleston via R1 TKO|
Emanuel Newton def. Linton Vassell
The night's main event began in expected fashion from both fighters. Newton worked some leg kicks into his repertoire in an effort to keep the lanky challenger at a distance. Meanwhile, Vassell searched for an opportunity to take the champion to the ground, looking for a submission. The two traded positions on the ground, looking for chokes as time expired in Round 1.
The score remained very close with a possible slight edge to Vassell heading into Round 2. For a moment early in the round, Newton was locked into a kimura and appeared ready to tap. Somehow, he fought through the pain and the hold was relinquished. Vassell locked in a rear naked choke in the waning seconds of the round, but Newton just barely escaped as the bell sounded.
At this point, Mike Bohn of USA Today tweeted his take on the champ's performance:
Both fighters remained standing for the first half of the third round. Newton landed once clean shot and immediately took the challenger to the ground as Vassell entered half guard. Newton couldn't get in position to lock in a kimura or triangle and both fighters returned to their feet. The champion allowed his opponent to take him down and time expired with Newton on his back in full guard.
Between rounds, a cut over Newton's right eye was visible after getting caught by a Vassell elbow in Round 3.
Despite Newton's trainer telling the fighter to remain standing, the champion took the fight to the ground immediately to begin Round 4. The move paid off, as Newton remained in control for the duration of the round, landing plenty of shots on the ground against a seemingly gassed Vassell.
Entering the final round, the score appeared to be all knotted up at two rounds each. That score didn't matter one bit, as a fresher Newton spun to the back of Vassell, locked his arm under the challenger's neck and forced a submission via rear naked choke.
Here's what Newton had to say after his successful title defense, via Bohn:
Vassell proved he is a talented fighter, taking advantage of several of Newton's mistakes early. However, Newton showed once again why he is the light heavyweight champion after a fantastic display of resilience, patience and stamina.
Bobby Lashley def. Karl Etherington
Etherington was undefeated coming into Friday night's fight against Lashley, who was fighting in home state of Kansas. Things didn't begin in flawless fashion, as Lashley had great position with Etherington up against the cage. Etherington got himself out of a jam by kneeing Lashley in the groin, causing the referee to break up the fight for a moment.
When things reconvened, both fighters clinched up, and Etherington made a crucial mistake, slipping and falling on his stomach after attempting to throw his opponent to the ground. Lashley quickly pounced on top, pummeling Etherington with devastating rights to quickly end the fight in a Round 1 TKO.
Bellator MMA's Twitter account summed it up perfectly:
Lashley appears set on a path to the heavyweight world title, and this win was a great step in the right direction.
Marloes Coenen def. Annalisa Bucci
The fight went to the ground early, with Bucci in top position; however, Coenen appeared to have an early size and strength advantage, remaining aggressive while Bucci struggled to find her offense. Coenen took Bucci down soon after, getting Bucci into half guard and looking for an armbar. Although, she couldn't get into position and the bell signified the end of the round.
Coenen looked to have the score advantage heading into Round 2. She kept up the pace immediately, taking Bucci to the ground and delivering a couple right hands. The fighters remained on the ground for the remainder of the round, with Bucci remaining on defense until time expired.
After another takedown in Round 3, Coenen finally got her opponent into a favorable position and forced her to submit by rear naked choke. The win marked her 22nd MMA victory and 16th by submission.
Jason Floyd of The MMA Report tweeted exactly how long it has been since Coenen's last victory.
That makes her performance on Friday even more impressive.
Dave Jansen def. Rick Hawn
The main card's first fight featured the efficiency of Jansen against the raw power of Hawn.
Jansen utilized low kicks to keep his distance from Hawn—and his heavy-handed punches—early in the first round but maintained an offensive approach. This strategy lasted throughout the full five minutes, as both fighters remained on their feet due to Jansen's defensive strategy and Hawn's inability to get close enough for any kind of strike.
The leg kicks of Jansen appeared to have him ahead through one round, and the second began in the same fashion, with Janson's continued control of the range and pace of the fight. Hawn briefly caught a kick and pinned Janson against the cage, but he couldn't land anything of significance. Although, one punch did reach Jansen midway through the round, and there was apparent swelling over his left eye as a result.
Jansen remained the aggressor early in the third round, clinching with Hawn and landing some knees to the midsection. The two fighters danced around late in the round, drawing boos from the crowd. Both fighters worked until the final bell, but without any big strikes from Hawn, Jansen's aggressive strategy paid off, taking the fight by unanimous decision.
The victory improves Jansen's record to 7-0 in Bellator and Floyd tweeted the fighter's place in the division's history:
Friday's win could pave the way to a lightweight title shot for the dominant Jansen. Based on his most recent performance, he appears to have proved himself worthy.