Bellator 113 Preview for ‘Vegh vs Newton 2’ Tonight (March 21) in Mulvane

Vegh NewtonMulvane, Kansas seems like a place where cowboys likely shot each other dead over poker money. And while a different type of showdown may be taking place in present day, the stakes are high. The last year of the Bellator light heavyweight division is coming to a head as Attila Vegh and Emanuel Newton vie for the undisputed light heavyweight title. Also, a lightweight tournament begins in earnest. While Emanuel Newton (22-7-1) has made a name defeating King Mo 2x over the last year or so, Attila Vegh (29-4-2) has been chilling on the sidelines like a member of the New England Patriots, seemingly healthy but deemed injured by the powers that be in the front office. These men met once before in Bellator 72 in July of 2012, with Vegh pulling out the split-decision win that wasn’t without its detractors (what split isn’t argued). Newton went 4-0 in 2013 and has seemed to turn a corner in his abilities. Will he be able to impose his will on Vegh like he has with the majority of his opponents of late? Possibly. Vegh is still a tough fight for anyone with 21 finishes and a strong skillset. Both of these men match up very closely, with Newton’s wrestling possibly making the all-important difference. The lightweight tournament begins with former tournament winner Dave Rickels (15-2) fighting perennial featherweight contender Patricio Freire’s brother, Patricky Pitbull (11-5), who has been up and down lately to say the least. Patricky has won only twice in his last 6 fights – a sub-minute win over Kurt Pelligrino in 2011, followed by 3 straight losses to the likes of Lloyd Woodard, Eddie Alvarez and Derek Anderson. While his brother is in line for a title shot, Patricky seems to bend at the will of fighters who aren’t afraid of him. That doesn’t bode well for Patricky, because Rickles is a tornado of hair and flesh that will ultimately not stop coming forward until he inflicts damage. His BJJ, while not as good as Pitbull’s is solid. Both of these men have good gas tanks leaning in the favor of Rickles, and while both men have knockout power, Patricky is scarier in the first round, but don’t count out Rickles – he has massively underrated kickboxing. The lightweight tournament continues with another one of Bellator’s prized European scouting gems in Marcin Held (16-3) an ace grappler who has found his knockout power of late, taking on  Rodrigo Cavalheiro (14-2). This is grappler vs striker time, people. Cavalheiro has 11 knockouts and has only seen the judges twice in his career, and while this newcomer to Bellator has an impressive resume, he hasn’t fought the best competition down in the the Brazilian circuit. Held is 5-2 in Bellator, losing to the champ Michael Chandler way back in his initial run, and to Dave Jansen at Bellator 93. This has the hallmarks of what should be a fun fight. Both men can bang and aren’t afraid of engaging the other. However, Held has the major advantage in the grappling department, and his eight career submissions could turn to nine by the end of the night. Tim Welch (10-4) is 0-1 in Bellator but was given this spot due to Terry Etim having to pull out with an injury. He takes on Bellator vet Derek Campos (13-3). Campos lost his Bellator debut to Rich Clementi at Bellator 70, but is currently on a four-fight winning streak which includes two in a row over Bellator’s Martin Stapleton and Brandon Girtz. Welch has nothing to lose and Campos has had a full camp preparing for his next attempt at a tournament run, so this is obviously in favor of Campos who brandishes three knockouts and five submissions to his name. Look for this to be a scrappy, entertaining and not very competitive fight. The prelim main event is the opening round of the lightweight tournament, Brandon Girtz (10-3) will bring his NCAA Division II wrestling to the Bellator cage against undefeated Derek Anderson (10-0). Anderson’s biggest win (and most recent one) was over Patricky Freire at Bellator 98 back in September of 2013. That was Anderson’s first time going to the judges and only the second time going to the third round. He has seven first round finishes and runs roughshod over whomever is standing in front of him. Styles make fights, and this one could be a fun fight to watch. Girtz is a grinder, whereas Anderson explodes out of the gate, constantly looking for the finish. Naturally, they are inverted as far as skill, with Girtz the far superior grappler but Anderson better on the feet. Anderson does have a good sprawl, but that tape I saw was against lesser opponents than Girtz. If Anderson can keep this standing, he could likely pick apart the wrestler, but if he’s put on his back, it could be a long night.

Written by Jason Nawara

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