Bellator 130: Newton vs Vassell – Main Card Preview & Predictions
Bellator returns to Mulvane, Kansas with some star power (and squash fights). Emanuel Newton makes his second title defense against surprise opponent Linton Vassell (due to an injury to #1 contender Liam McGeary) riding on his unbeaten three-fight win streak with Bellator. Bobby Lashley returns as the featured co-main eventer, Rick Hawn and Dave Jansen scrap in what could be the Lightweight division’s #1 contender’s fight and the women’s division re-debuts with women’s MMA pioneer, MarloesCoenen at the helm.
Emanuel Newton (C) (-475) vs Linton Vassell (+325)
BellatorLight Heavyweight Championship (205)
Why Linton Vassell will win
“The Swarm” is a physical specimen at 6’4” with an 82” reach; one of Britain’s better MMA prospects (despite being 31), Vassell has a strong grappling resume with half his wins coming via submission (and two of his last three with Bellator). Vassell is not particularly known as a lethal striker but his long reach usually does him better than worse.
Why Emanuel Newton will win
Bellator’s reigning Light Heavyweight champion has a background in wrestling but is mostly known for his unorthodox striking style. While not having huge KO power, Newton’s unpredictability throws his opponent’s off-guard leading to his two beautiful spinning backfist KO’s of Joey Beltran and Muhammed Lawal.
Vassell definitely has the physical tools to beat Newton; he’s the bigger more athletic fighter and arguably the better grappler but his main issue would be the stiff jump in competition Newton poses in comparison to the rest of the flock he’s faced. Newton’s slick unconventional striking style matched by his pretty good takedown defense will be the difference maker. Even if Newton can’t finish Vassell early he should still dictate the fight and win handily.
Emanuel Newton def. Linton Vassell via Unanimous Decision
Bobby Lashley (-1500) vs Kyle Etherington (+700)
Heavyweight (265 lbs)
Why Kyle Etherington will win
The “Wrecking Machine” makes his second Bellator fight on the heels of his hard-fought debut fight. Etherington is undefeated and finished all 9 of them in the first round (one was by DQ). Though still relatively inexperienced, Etherington has grit and toughness to pull him through.
Why Bobby Lashley will win
Former WWE champion and Strikeforce vet, Lashley is likewise on his second Bellator fight after choking out Josh Burns on Bellator 123. Lashley is the superior athlete and wrestler and even though his gas tank is questionable, he shouldn’t have many issues as he simply overpowers most fighters on any given night.
Lashley is much better than Etherington all-around except maybe the stand-up although Etherington has shown holes in his striking game as well; Lashley will take Etherington down and sooner than later the ref will have to pry him off the defenseless Brit.
Bobby Lashley def. Kyle Etherington via TKO (Rd 1)
Rick Hawn (-260) vs Dave Jansen (+180)
Why Dave Jansen will win
Bellator’s Season Seven Lightweight Tournament winner and the last man in the organization to beat the now streaking Marcin Held. Jansen did spend a good deal of time in that win defending Held’s persistent submission attempts but the wrestler and Team Quest fighter is a slick grappler in his own right with 10 of his 19 wins via submission. Jansen is coming back from a one and half year layoff and will have a lot to prove coming to this fight.
Why Rick Hawn will win
“Genghis” Hawn is an Olympic-level judoka fighter with a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The long-time Bellator staple has only lost three times: to current Bellator Welterweight Champion,Douglas Lima, former Lightweight Champion, Michael Chandler and former UFC and Bellator vet Jay Hieron. Hawn’s solid grappling game is matched only by his vicious striking power.
Hawn is simply put, better in nearly all aspects; he’s got more knockout power and has the better grappling game. Jansen to his credit is very crafty and pretty strong but when this fight goes to the ground, which it most likely will, it’s Hawn’s fight to lose. Hawn will either lock Jansen in a submission or bully him around for a win.
Rick Hawn def. Dave Jansen via Unanimous Decision
MarloesCoenen (-900) vs Annalisa Bucci (+500)
Women’s Featherweight (145 lbs)
Why Annalisa Bucci will win
Bucci is a kickboxer turned MMA fighter; in ten fights, she’s gone 7-3 with most wins coming via submission or decision. Bucci is lacking in experience and is virtually unknown but that could easily work for her. She has great leg kicks and can end fights with them.
Why Marloes Coenen will win
Simply put, Coenen is one of Women’s MMA’s greatest pioneers; during her storied 14-year MMA career, she’s tangled with the likes of Miesha Tate, Sarah Kaufman and Cyborg. Coenen trains with the iconic Dutch Muay Thai kickboxing team, Golden Glory but has most of her wins by submission (15 of 21). In fact, she has more submission victories than Bucci has MMA fights.
This may be a stand-up affair ideally as the two kickboxers can possibly pull off a surprisingly entertaining fight but conventional wisdom may suggest the much more experienced Coenen to eventually take Bucci down and have her way with her
Marloes Coenen def. Annalisa Bucci via submission (Rd 1)