Bellator has announced a third match for their November 2nd debut PPV offering. Light Heavyweight Champion Atilla Vegh was scheduled to take on tournament winner Emmanuel Newton, but Vegh has suffered a shoulder injury. Newton will now rematch ‘King’ Mo Lawal in what is slated to be an interim title bout. Lawal won an abbreviated four man tournament over the summer to get back in the picture after Newton waxed him the first time. Now they meet again, with the winner getting a belt to tout around a presumably a unification bout with Vegh in the future.
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In their first meeting, ‘King Mo’ was a big favorite with the lines at the sportbooks, but Newton found Mo’s chin-button and KO’d him with a spinning backfist. That loss set Bellator’s plans back quite a bit, causing them to change tourmanet formats and re write rules they set on themselves. The bottom line is that with a shallow talent pool, for what they are paying King Mo, it is likey not good business having him fight B class guys in tournaments.
B class guys are tough and dangerous, as Newton proved. But the bottom line is that the books are likely to install Lawal as a favorite again. Perhaps the line will not be as wide, but Lawal is superior to Newton in physicality and really just needs to protect his chin to win the fight.
Lawal in a title shot at Bellator shows another way that CEO Bjorn Rebney likes to talk out of both sides of his mouth. The company is so desperate to get their high profile signee a belt that they have modified their tournament format and they are creating an ‘interim’ title for him to tout. Why not just have him rematch Newton, winner gets the belt shot? Why an interim title? That is self serving, and is not based on true competition, like Rebney is fond of talking about.
Look for King Mo to go home with gold in November on the PPV, in what will probably be the first squash match at the books on a card that otherwise wil lhave some competitive matches.