Bellator light heavyweight champion Attila Vegh has suffered a shoulder injury, prompting promotion officials to book a Nov. 2 rematch between Muhammed Lawal and Emanuel Newton.
The contest, which takes place during Bellator’s pay-per-view debut, will decide the promotion’s first interim light heavyweight champion. Lawal-Newton joins a burgeoning card headlined by a light heavyweight showdown between former UFC champions Quinton Jackson and Tito Ortiz. The event takes place at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, Calif., and will also see lightweight champion Michael Chandler defend his title against Eddie Alvarez in a rematch nearly two years in the making.
Lawal and Newton first met this past February, when Newton knocked out the former Strikeforce champion with a spinning back fist in the semifinals of Bellator’s Season 8 tournament. Following that defeat, “King Mo” went on to capture the Summer Series four-man tournament title, stopping Seth Petruzelli and Jacob Noe in June and July to earn his title shot.
“Listen, I’m going to be real honest about this. Emanuel is fake as hell,” Lawal said in the official release. “He runs his mouth about being a black skinhead or something and likes to act real hard. He’s as hard as baby s--t. I’m going to destroy this guy. He landed a shot on me in our first fight, nothing more than that. I’m better than him in every facet of the game. I didn’t even shoot on him that first fight. I can take this fight anywhere I want it, and I will. It’s over. I’m taking that belt in Long Beach, bringing it back to Las Vegas, and no one is getting it back. Not Vegh, not ‘Rampage,’ not Tito, not anyone. It’s mine. Payback is b---h, Emanuel.”
Newton, meanwhile, capped off his Season 8 tournament run with a unanimous decision win over Mikhail Zayats on March 28. “The Hardcore Kid” has won nine of his last 10 fights, with his lone loss in that span coming to Vegh in the 2012 Summer Series tournament 13 months ago.
“I’m not going to spout off and trash Mo; I don’t have to do that,” Newton said. “I know Mo is going to run his mouth and try to sell his game, but I don’t have anything to prove. I’m the one that knocked him out, and he’s the one that has to deal with that loss on his record, not me. I did it once, and I’m going to do it again, this time on an even bigger stage. History likes to repeat itself, and Nov. 2, Mo’s going to have to deal with another big loss on his record.”