Alex Munoz Spoils Nick Newell’s UFC Bid on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series

By Brian Knapp Jul 24, 2018

Nick Newell had designs on an Ultimate Fighting Championship contract. Alex Munoz had other plans.

In his first appearance since Nov. 19, 2016, Team Alpha Male’s Munoz bloodied Newell’s nose with jabs, kept him off-balance with takedowns and took a three-round unanimous decision in their featured lightweight pairing on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series in Las Vegas. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 30-27 for Munoz (5-0).

Outside of an attempted guillotine choke in the third round and a few front kicks to the face, Newell (14-2) struggled to string together meaningful offense. Munoz asserted his superiority in top position in all three rounds, and though the finish eluded him, he did more than enough to lock down a convincing victory.

While Munoz was not awarded an Ultimate Fighting Championship contract, three other fighters were rewarded for their efforts.

Related » DWTNCS Round-by-Round Scoring

Undefeated Hex Fight Series champion Jimmy Crute dispatched Chris Birchler with punches in the first round of their light heavyweight encounter. Crute (8-0) closed the deal 4:23 into Round 1.

Birchler (7-4) was game but ultimately outmatched. He marked up Crute with clean combination punching and a sneaky jab, leaving noticeable damage to the Aussie’s left eye. Undeterred, the 22-year-old kept returning fire. A two-punch combination punctuated by a wicked left hook had Birchler out on his feet, stumbling backward and unable to defend himself. Referee Mark Smith was on the scene in a hurry, just as Crute uncorked a high kick that narrowly missed the mark.

A Cage Fury Fighting Championships and Ring of Combat alum, Birchler has lost four of his last six fights.

Damaging leg kicks and crisp punching combinations carried Team Lloyd Irvin prospect Sodiq Yusuff to a unanimous decision over the previously unbeaten Mike Davis in a three-round battle at 145 pounds. Yusuff (7-1) swept the scorecards with 30-27 marks across the board.

Davis (5-1) showed flashes of brilliance but was confronted with an uphill climb after a difficult first round. Yusuff rocked him with an overhand right, floored him with a short left hook and swarmed for a potential finish. Worse for Davis, Yusuff tore into him with a steady stream of calf kicks to the lead leg. By the third round, he was hobbled and had no choice but to switch stances -- a move that allowed him to survive but also took him out of his comfort zone.

Yusuff, 25, has recorded back-to-back victories.

Reigning Legacy Fighting Alliance champion Jeff Hughes put away Team Alpha Male’s Josh Appelt with punches in the first round of their heavyweight affair. Appelt (15-7) bowed out 4:26 into Round 1, his three-fight winning streak at an end.

Hughes (10-1) chipped away with punches to the head and kicks to the legs and body. Appelt eventually wilted, retreated to the cage and conceded a pair of takedowns. Hughes piled up points with his ground-and-pound, allowed the Bellator MMA veteran to stand and uncorked a right uppercut that clipped the Californian’s nose. Appelt hit the deck in visible distress, prompting referee Smith to act.

Crute, Yusuff and Hughes were all signed by the UFC.

Meanwhile, Chase Hooper overcame a horrendous start to keep his perfect professional record intact, as he took a unanimous decision from Canaan Kawaihae in a three-round featherweight clash. All three cageside judges scored it for Hooper (5-0): 29-26, 29-26 and 28-26. Afterward, he was awarded a developmental deal with the UFC.

All three rounds were lopsided. Kawaihae (4-1) had the Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt reeling with power punches early on but ran out of gas after the first five minutes, giving his 18-year-old counterpart the opening he needed. Hooper drew the Hawaiian into his world in the second round and beyond, transitioning between dominant positions paired with ground-and-pound and repeated submission attempts. Kawaihae managed to survive to the final bell, but fatigue prevented him from offering much in the way of resistance.


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