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Bellator 113 Recap: Emanuel Newton Claims Undisputed Light Heavyweight Title
Bellator 113, as from the Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane, Kansas, is collapsed and in the books, and it provided a number of great thrills.
The top of the card, which featured a light-heavyweight unification bout between reigning champion Attila Vegh, and interim champion Emanuel Newton, was a bit of a ho-hum affair, as was the opening match between Derek Campos vs. Tim Welch, but what was sandwiched between the bookended decisions were three solid fights, with three solid stoppages; one submission and two TKOs’.
The best fight of the night had to be the Patricky Freire vs. David Rickels bout. The two went at it pretty hard in the first with Rickels probably winning the round. However, Freire caught Rickels early in the second and concluded the night with a solid KO of his opponent.
The highlight of the night had to be Derek Anderson’s (knee) KO of Brandon Girtz. It was truly a highlight reel stoppage. Coming in with his head down and throwing an overhand left, Anderson drove his right knee into Girtz’s chin and it was all over; walk off home run.
Marcin Held also impressed tonight. His first round toe-hold submission of the hard hitting Rodrigo Cavalheiro sends notice to the BMMA lightweight ranks that he has some serious ground skills.
Up next, Bellator 114 and Alexander Shlemenko vs. Brennan Ward, as the pair duke it out for Shlemenko’s BMMA middleweight bout.
Up next for Emanuel Newton, he’ll face the winner of May 17th’s Quinton Jackson vs. Muhammed Lawal fight.
All in all, it was a solid night of fights. Here’s the event’s recap and results:
Fight #1: Derek Campos vs. Tim Welch
The fight was contested at a steady pace and witnessed Campos acting as the general over the full three rounds. Compos came forward throughout the entire fifteen minutes of the fight and for it, continually cut Welch off as he retreated and tried to counter Compos. The second round demonstrated the most action. In it, Campos caught Welch with a big heavy right while the fighter had his back to the cage and nearly finished the bout. Compos had Welch wobbled and continued to hit him with some dirty boxing. However, Compos elected to take the fight to the ground, and where he nearly locked in a head-and-arm triangle choke for his efforts, he was inevitably frustrated by Welch surviving the attempt and working his way out of it. The third saw Welch on his back for most of the round and with Campos doing little more than controlling him. However, with fourteen seconds left to go in the third Welch reversed the position and landed on top of Compos. Sadly, it was too little, too late. With the clock expired the verdict was rendered by the judges’ scorecards; winner by unanimous decision and moving on to the semi-final round of the lightweight tournament, Derek Campos.
Fight #2: Marcin Held vs. Rodrigo Cavalheiro
Wow! What to say about this fight other than Marcin Held is a beast on the ground. The fight started and with no feel out process. The two met and immediately started to bang. Held kept coming forward throwing bombs and in an effort to grab a takedown. Cavalheiro was firing back and just as it looked like he had caught Held, “MH” went for the takedown and got it. With Cavalheiro on his back, holding on and looking for the ref to stand them up, Held began to stand with the Brazilian clinging to him, and in an attempt to better his position. Cavalheiro gave up his grasp and with that the fighter found himself back down on the ground and with Held going for a leg lock. Unable to secure it Held moved to a vicious toe-hold. Sinking it in and applying pressure, Cavalheiro finally succumb to the submission and tapped; winner by way of toe-hold submission at the 1:56 mark of the first round and moving on to the semi-final round of the lightweight tournament, Marcin Held.
Fight #3: Derek Anderson vs. Brandon Girtz
Again, wow! This was a nice sweet fight and one with a beautiful finish. The two came out and the taller Anderson looked to find and work his range. However, the smaller and powerfully built Girtz wanted to turn the fight into a brawl and that he did. With some nasty knees in the clinch, some ground and submission attempts on the mat, and an explosive takedown, Girtz demonstrated that he had more than enough power to rag doll and beat up Anderson if he was given the chance. However, Anderson proved to be tough in the brawl and while on the mat, finally reversed Girtz, taking top position and delivering some of his own G ’n P. The second round broke and the two met, with Girtz leaning in and throwing a powerful heavy right hand at Anderson’s head. However, as he did Anderson returned fire with a huge right knee and as Girtz threw Anderson connected. Boom! Down went Girtz and as if he was nailed to a cross. With his head back, eyes closed and arms extended, the powerfully built fighter was out on contact; truly, one of the sweetest KOs’ to be seen in a while. With that the ref stepped in and called the fight; winner by KO at the twenty-three second mark of the second round and moving on to the semi-final round of the lightweight tournament, Derek Anderson.
Fight #4: Patricky Freire vs. David Rickels
Wow! That was a fun fight. David Rickels came out aggressively and looking to use his size and wrestling advantages to dictate the pace, and nature of the fight. However, Freire would have nothing of it, using his footwork and superior boxing skills to out maneuver Rickels, and begin to hurt him. Finding his range, Freire started to land some solid straight left and a couple of big right hooks. Not liking what he was seeing, Rickels pushed the fight up against the fence and began to dirty box Freire. With a strong clinch, Rickels began to beat Freire up and looked to be stealing the round. However, Freire finally broke free and scored a (trip takedown). However, once there it was Rickels – off of his back – that inflicted the damage. The second round broke and Freire came out looking to box, and with Rickels coming forward aggressively, it wasn’t long before Freire’s technique paid off. Stepping in and with his hands low Freire caught Rickels with a solid left / right combination and seriously wobbled Rickels. Giving chase, Freire once again caught Rickels in an exchange, dropping and stopping him with a vicious left right combination. With Rickels head bounced off the canvas a final time, the referee stepped in and waived Freire off; winner by KO at the fifty-four second mark of the first round and moving on to the semi-final round of the lightweight tournament, Patricky Freire.
Fight #5: Emanuel Newton vs. Attila Vegh
This was not a great fight. It was quite literally five rounds of the same thing, which was, Newton chasing Vegh around the ring for twenty-five minutes. With flurries of punches and kicks that never seemed to bother Vegh, Newton came forward and looked to be carrying the day by sheer volume of offense. For his part, Vegh gave his offense in counter, and where he was having some success with his uppercuts, he failed to land them often enough and when he did, none of them phased his opponent. By far Vegh’s best round was the third, but only because Newton was told by his corner to slow the pace and begin to wait on Vegh. Other than that, Newton looked to have carried the other four rounds. With the bout having come to a close and neither fighter proving capable of putting their opponent away, the pair stood at the center of the cage awaiting the judges’ decision. As the verdict was read aloud it would not be Attila Vegh’s name called; winner by split decision and the new (unified) Bellator light-heavyweight champion, Emanuel Newton.
Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea for USA TODAY Sports