On Friday, September 12 Bellator MMA held Bellator 124: Newton vs. Beltran from the Compuware Arena in Plymouth, Michigan.

This was Bellator’s second event in their new season under the new management team headed up by Scott Coker. The light heavyweight division is home to the biggest names Bellator has to offer and they were on display on this night. In the main event Emanuel Newton made his first defense since becoming the undisputed light heavyweight champion against heavy puncher, Joey Beltran. Newton started his cinderella run towards the title all the way back in February of 2013 when he shocked the world by knocking out Muhammed Lawal with a spinning backfist. Newton then won the interim light heavyweight title by beating Lawal again. That title became undisputed when he defeated Atillah Veigh in March. Joey Beltran wasn’t the most likely challenger, but after Quinton Jackson was reluctant to take the fight he earned against Newton by winning last season’s light heavyweight tournament Coker gave the shot to Beltran. Beltran had only won three of his past eleven fights, but many of those losses took place against top flight competition in the UFC heavyweight division. In his last outing Beltran picked up his first win in the Bellator cage by submitting Vladimir Matyushenko.

In the co-main event a future challenger for the light heavyweight title was crowned. Liam McGeary and Kelly Anundson fought in the finals of Bellator’s summer series light heavyweight tournament. McGeary had been pegged by many as Bellator’s next homegrown star; and rightfully so. McGeary entered the contest unbeaten in his previous eight professional bouts. In Bellator McGeary has knocked out all five of his opponents in the first round and has an average fight time of just over one minute. Anundson was looking to stop McGeary’s hype train in the tracks. The submission expert had won six in a row and looked to use those ground skills to negate McGeary’s striking.

The other two bouts on the main card were showcases for familiar names with L.C. Davis and Ryan Couture showcasing their skills on Spike TV. The main card aired on Spike TV starting at 9 pm ET with the prelims streaming on Spike.com starting at 6:45 ET.

Main Card Summary

Emanuel Newton officially made the spinning backfist his signature move by using it to knockout Joey Beltran the same way he did Muhammed Lawal. Beltran getting this fight was heavily criticized, but he proved he belonged in their with the champion in the early stages of this fight. Beltran brought the pressure early to Newton using his striking to force the champion back towards the cage and eventually into the clinch. Once they were in the clinch Newton was able to reverse the position and take Beltran down. Beltran wasn’t held down for long and was back on his feet before the round was over. Beltran continued to push the pace in the second round and even hurt Newton this time combining body shots before landing an uppercut to the chin, but it wasn’t enough for a stoppage. In the third round Beltran’s aggressiveness proved to be his downfall. Newton was moving backwards, but uncorked a spinning backfist that Beltran ran right into. The “Mexicutioner” was out cold.

Liam McGeary pulled a rabbit out of his hat to submit Kelly Anundson to earn a world title shot. Early on McGeary defended Andundson’s first takedown and gave him a knee to pay for his troubles. Anundson stayed true to his abilities and scored a takedown shortly after. Anundson did some good work with elbows from the top, but then the Englishman started to get active from the bottom. He attempted a key lock first, but then transitioned to an inverted triangle choke to earn yet another first round stoppage.

L.C. Davis followed his game plan perfectly to defeat Zeilton Rodrigues. Rodrigues talked before the fight about how he wanted to keep the fight standing, but he was barely able to do so at all. Davis took down the Brazilian early and often and stayed heavy on top. Rodrigues tried to threaten with submissions from the bottom, but Davis was one step ahead in the transition game and stayed consistent with the ground-and-pound to earn the decision.

Ryan Couture’s Bellator debut was a quick one. The start was a bit shaky when Couture accidentally kneed Tom Bagnasco in the groin. Bagnasco was able to recover, but was then taken down rather quickly. Couture advanced to the mount and then took the back of his opponent. Bagnasco defended valiantly for a while, but Couture was able to sink his arm under the neck and score a rear-naked choke victory.

Emanuel Newton def. Joey Beltran by knockout (spinning backfist). Round 3, 3:07- for light heavyweight title
Liam McGeary def. Kelly Anundson by submission (inverted triangle choke). Round 1, 4:47- light heavyweight tournament final
L.C. Davis def. Zeilton Rodrigues by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Ryan Couture def. Tom Bagnasco by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 3:01
Sabah Homasi def. Eric Moon by submission (guillotine choke). Round 2, 1:07
Ben Reiter vs. Shamir Garcia
Michael Hernandez def. Thomas Vasquez by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Leroy Johnson def. Adrian Henderson by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Adrian Hadribeaj def. Michael Hamida by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Justin Jaynes vs. Ruben Baraiac
Jason Fischer def. Tony Hervey by unanimous decision (30-26 x3)
Eric Ramirez def. Cortez Phelia by submission (guillotine choke). Round 3, 0:38

About The Author

Trey Downey
Staff Writer

A Central Florida native, Trey Downey's interest in MMA came after a trip to Blockbuster and the rental of UFC 47 on VHS. He has been blogging about the sport since 2011 and hosted a podcast called The TD Experience focusing on football and MMA (touchdowns and takedowns). Trey studied radio and television at the University of Central Florida and will soon be attending the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Trey enjoys watching sports, pro wrestling and is an avid runner.