MMA Odds and Ends for Wednesday: Newton/Beltran, Shields/Ford Booked

Emanuel Newton 3Tuesday was another busy day in MMA, just not for the UFC. While the world’s biggest MMA promotion was still working through the aftermath of the Jones/Cormier brawl, the two other promotions with big TV deals were filling out future events. Bellator announced that light heavyweight champion Emanuel Newton will be defending his title against UFC veteran Joey Beltran at Bellator 124 on September 12th. This is a big departure from the company’s old motto of title shots being earned, not given, as Beltran is just 1-1 in Bellator and 3-7 with 1 NC in his last 11 fights. On the other hand, aside from a split decision which most felt Newton deserved, the Reign MMA product has not lost in this decade. Beltran’s straightforward style should play well into Newton’s counterstriking ability, and it’s hard to see him getting much offense going in this bout. Emanuel Newton has proven that he belongs against the top fighters in the world at this point, and while he may have asked Scott Coker to get him back in the cage as soon as possible, he deserves a better test than this. One might even say that this type of matchmaking is very reminiscent of Strikeforce, and the betting line should be wide, as so many Strikeforce lines were. World Series of Fighting also announced a bout involving one of their more notable fighters. Jake Shields will be travelling North of the border to take on Ryan Ford at WSOF 14. The October card will mark Shields’ WSOF debut, and it’s hard to see a win doing anything but propelling him into the welterweight title picture alongside fellow UFC vets Rousimar Palhares, Jon Fitch and Josh Burkman. It won’t be an easy task for Shields however, as he walks into Ford’s home town of Edmonton to take this fight, and Ford has been in good form lately. The Bellator veteran has won his last six bouts, including a knockout of the year candidate in his most recent bout. Shields should be a solid favorite here and he can probably get a submission, but this bout isn’t without danger. With bouts being announced, there always have to be a couple news items on the other side of the ledger to balance things out. Yesterday, Mark Bocek (12-5) announced his retirement from MMA. Despite only starting his pro career in 2004, Bocek was a pioneer of combat sports in Canada, becoming the first Canadian to receive a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. He fought all but four of his professional MMA bouts in the UFC, with his most notable performance likely being his top side triangle against Dustin Hazelett back at UFC 124. Matt Riddle was also forced out of his Titan FC 29 title bout with Ben Saunders due to an undisclosed injury. With the card taking place in less than three weeks, the organization was tasked with finding a replacement on extremely short notice, and they came up with 40-year-old Jose Landi-Jons. ‘Pele’ has only competed four times since 2010, and none of those fighters have been anywhere near Saunders’ capabilities, so he’ll likely be a large underdog in this bout. Titan FC will likely be hoping that Saunders comes through, and they can re-book the bout with Riddle.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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