By Benjamin Bieker
Summer Series winner Attila Vegh will have his chance to uncrown current Bellator light-heavyweight champion Christian M’Pumbu come February 28th, and if he wins he will not have to take long to find out his new opponent. Current champion M’Pumbu has yet to defend his title or even earn a win since he took the belt. He took the whole year of 2012 off after he lost to Travis Wiuff in a non-title bout. The Season 8 Light-heavyweight Tournament has already been narrowed from eight potential contenders to four, and all of them are hungry to prove they are the best 205’er in the toughest sports tournament on earth.
Many veterans in the current light-heavyweight tournament were knocked out, literally, in the first round of the tournament and their fights. On one side of the bracket, you will have a relative unknown entering into finals. Tennessee native Jacob Noe earned the biggest win of his career by knocking out Kimbo Crusher Seth Petruzelli in the first round. He now sits at 11-1 in his career with five knockout and five submission finishes in his 11 career wins.
He will take out Mikhail Zayats who took out tournament favorite Renato “Babalu” Sobral with a spinning back fist with just ten seconds left in the first round of their fight. It was quite surprise considering he owns ten of his 20 wins by submission, and that TKO was only the fourth of his career. The fight with Noe will be fairly even matched, but whoever wins will have a tall order going into the finals.
They will have to face either Emanuel Newton or Muhammed Lawal who are a tough task for any fighter. Newton earned his way into his second semi-finals with a submission win over Atanas Djambazov. He lost out in his first tournament semi-finals to eventual winner Attila Vegh by very close split decision. He may have to put his submission skills to good use when he faces Muhammed Lawal.
Despite earning a TKO victory in his first fight of the tournament, Muhammed Lawal is probably one of the best wrestlers at 205. Through his first seven fights of his career he used that wrestling to capture wins over Gegard Mousasi, Mark Kerr, Travis Wiuff, and Mike Whitehead. Now, he seems to have added power in his hands as he took out Przemyslaw Mysiala standing. He is just two wins away from challenging for another world title after capturing the Strikeforce light-heavyweight title in 2010. It has been a long road back to MMA for Lawal, but he still has some time to make an impact in the sport.
What are your thoughts?