When Bellator light heavyweight champion Emanuel Newton was inexplicably booked to face former UFC journeyman Joey Beltran at Bellator 124, we were concerned to say the very least. Beltran has always been a gamer, sure, but his recent performances (which included a KO loss to Rampage Jackson and a decision win over Vladimir Matyushenko under the Bellator banner) didn’t exactly paint him as a man ready to face one of Bellator’s most elite fighters. Then this happened:
So yeah, Beltran *might* have been a little out of his league that night, but being that two of Bellator’s top light heavyweights are currently locked in a WWE-style feud with one another, viable contenders appear limited for “The Hardcore Kid.” Just take a look at Newton’s recently scheduled next opponent, if you don’t believe us…(via MMAJunkie):
Bellator MMA’s final regular Friday event of the season is set and will be headlined by a light heavyweight title fight. Champion Emanuel Newton (24-7 MMA, 7-1 BMMA) will defend his title against Linton Vassell (14-3 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) in the main event of Bellator 130. Promotion officials today announced the headliner and the rest of the card.
Linton Vassell? Who the hell is Linton Vassell? What, was Attila Vegh not available for another-oh, that’s right. I am not afraid to admit that I have no idea who this cat is, but let’s take a gander over this Vincent Lassell’s record, shall we?
That’s…not bad, actually. Anton Verchelli is 3-0 under the Bellator banner with two stoppage victories in 2014, and will be riding a 9 fight win streak into his fight with Newton. Also, his nickname is “The Swarm” and I’m not even sure how it’s physically possible for that nickname to apply to a sole entity.
At 14-3, Quinton Pastel is a hell of a lot more qualified than Beltran ever was to face the likes of “The Hardcore Kid.” At the same time, this matchup simply makes one scratch their head and wonder why Bellator opted *not* to match Newton against Liam McGeary, who won the 2014 Summer Series light heavyweight tournament with a super slick inverted triangle choke over Kelly Anundson on the very same night that Newton last defended his title. So yeah, the f*ck is this matchup.
Of course, Season 10 light heavyweight tournament winner Quinton Jackson also seems like a more viable matchup for Newton, but he has apparently dropped off the face of the earth since decisioning King Mo back in May. (We’re guessing that potential matchup would be saved for Bellator’s next PPV go anyway.)
But yeah, we’re getting Manny Newts vs. Dustin Vasectomy, who didn’t even win a goddamned tournament. Bjork Rubme is spinning in his grave.