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Bellator 124 results: Emanuel Newton, Liam McGeary both score spectacular finishes to set up Bellator title fight

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Emanuel Newton and Liam McGeary are on a collision course for the light heavyweight title after scoring two of the year's most spectacular finishes on Friday night's Bellator show.

Newton (24-7-1) retained his light heavyweight title finishing Joey Beltran (15-11) with a left spinning backfist to the jaw at 3:07 of the third round. The champion had looked sluggish during the second and third rounds of the main event at the Compuware Arena in Plymouth, Mich.

McGeary (9-0) scored a rarely seen submission, as opponent Kelly Anundson (9-3) was in dominant position, in side control when the 6-foot-6 McGeary used his long legs to secure an inverted triangle at 4:47 of the first round. The win was the final of an eight-man summer light heavyweight tournament. It was in the last batch of regular tournaments the company had put on. But winners of all the current tournaments were told they would still be getting title shots even though Bellator is moving away from that format.

McGeary was brought into the cage with a victorious Newton after the main event to set up an upcoming bout.

Both winners were not looking good in their fights until scoring wins out of nowhere.  A heavy underdog and a man most felt was an undeserving title contender, Beltran dominated the second round in particular, hurting Newton with punches and elbows midway through the round.  Both men appeared tired in the third round with Beltran moving forward and landing punches. He moved in again, and suddenly Newton spun and nailed him with a left to the jaw. Beltran went out instantaneously. In the fight that put Newton on the MMA map in early 2013, he used the exact same technique to knock out "King" Mo Lawal.

"Joey Beltran's tough," said Newton. "He kept coming. I knew with my awkward style that I'd catch him eventually. Oh yeah, Joey was coming forward. He was pushing the pace. Joey kept pushing. I caught him with a couple of spinning strikes already. That's what I said I was going to do and that's what happened.

Anundson had taken McGeary down and kept himself in side control most of the fight. McGeary from that position still attempted submissions, a few times going for an Americana, before moving his legs to hook the triangle, and then pointed to his Gracie tattoo, as he had been training his ground game at Renzo Gracie's academy.

L.C. Davis (22-6) kept Brazilian Zeilton Rodrigues (12-4) grounded throughout their three-round bantamweight fight to win a unanimous 30-27 decision on all three cards.

In the television opener, Ryan Couture (9-3) finished late replacement Tommy Bagnasco (3-3) with a choke at 3:01 of the first round. The son of legend Randy Couture, who was in his corner, was one of the first fighters signed by new Bellator CEO Scott Coker when he took over the brand.

The fight was held at a 159-pound catchweight when Bagnasco couldn't get any lower after taking the fight at the last minute. Couture got Bagnasco's back and worked for a choke once, gave it up to throw punches, until getting the choke on the second attempt.

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