The sixth week of the 2018 season of Dana White Tuesday Night Contender Series is in the books, and Alex Muñoz of Team Alpha Male defeated Nick Newell by unanimous decision in the featured bout. Newell, who was born with only one hand, came out of retirement for this shot at the UFC, but tonight just wasn’t his night. Jim Crute realized a standing TKO in the first round, landing a bodacious left hook sent Chris Birchler stumbling across the Octagon. The 22-year-old undefeated Australian moves to 8-0. Sodiq Yussuf vs. Mike Davis was chock full of action! The athletes went to war right away, throwing heat in the pocket. Plenty of bombs were landed for each man, but it was the several crippling leg kicks that really hurt Davis. Yussuf walked away with the unanimous decision, earning 30-27’s on all three cards.
Training partner of Stipe Miocic, Jeff Hughes earned himself a first round TKO of Josh Appelt tonight. The heavyweight now sits at 11-1 on his pro MMA journey. The opening bout saw a wild momentum swing when Canaan Kawaihae had 18-year-old Chase Hooper on the ropes for the bulk of the first round, but then Hooper rallied back to overwhelm Kawaihae on the ground in rounds two and three. The craziness of the fight even produced the rare 28-26 scorecard from one of the judges. At the end of the night, Dana White awarded contracts to Jeff Hughes, Jim Crute, and Sodiq Yussuf, and stated that 18-year-old Chase Hooper is going into the developmental program and will have access to the UFC’s performance institute.
Alex Muñoz def. Nick Newell by unanimous decision (30-27 x3): Lightweight
Muñoz went after Newell with leg kicks early on in the fight. Newell responded with a probing jab and some leg kicks of his own, but gave up a takedown in the process. Newell stood back up but ate a hook en route. The second frame started with Muñoz blasting Newell with a hard shot as Newell threw a kick, and then following him down to the ground. Newell climbed back to his feet but fell back down from slipping on a kick attempt. Muñoz controlled Newell and grinded on him for the basically the rest of the round.
Muñoz closed the distance on his foe, holding him against the fence before landing a mean knee to the face on the break. Newell began bleeding from the nose but kept pressing forward, winging right hooks at Muñoz. Newell gave up another takedown and Muñoz was content to grind out the decision.
Jim Crute def. Chris Birchler by TKO at 4:23 of round 1: Light heavyweight
Crute came out guns blazing, throwing heavy punching combos in rapid succession before settling in a bit. Birchler remained calm during it all, absorbing whatever landed with relative ease, and landed some clean one-two’s of his own. Crute let his hands go again, rocking Birchler with a left hook and sending him stumbling across the Octagon. Birchler was out on his feet and the referee mercifully stopped the fight.
Sodiq Yussuf def. Mike Davis by unanimous decision (30-27 x3): Featherweight
The featherweights came out knucking, throwing heavy leather at one another. Yussuf started attacking the leg of Davis and then landed some more solid punches. Yussuf dropped his opponent, but Davis recovered and stood back up, but the bombs of Yussuf kept coming. Somehow, Davis made it out of the round.
Davis pressed forward with heavy punches to open up the second round, but Yussuf weathered the blitz rather well. Yussuf started to operate with his back to the cage, forcing Davis to come to him, where he deployed his leg kicks and brawling punches. The tempo slowed down a lot from where it was in the first round. Davis moved forward agin with pressure in the final round, but the leg kicks of Yussuf were waiting for him. Again and again, the leg kicks went unchecked and even forced Davis to switch his stance multiple times.
Look at this bomb land for Yussuf:
Round one was intense:
Jeff Hughes def. Josh Appelt by TKO at 4:26 of round 1: Heavyweight
Appelt closed the distance early and attacked a takedown, but Hughes was able to remain standing. An inadvertent low kick from Appelt briefly paused the action. Hughes scored a brief takedown when time resumed, but Appelt was quick to stand back up. Hughes landed serval hard punches before picking up another takedown and going for a ground and pound finish. Appelt hung tough and got back to his feet, but an uppercut from Hughes sat him right back down. The referee was right on top of the action to step in and call off the fight before Appelt took any unnecessary damage.
Chase Hooper def. Canaan Kawaihae (29-26 x2, 28-26): Featherweight
Kawaihae landed some heavy shots early, which prompted Hooper to want to close the distance and get the fight to the ground. Hooper was dropped, but Kawaihae refused to go to the ground, forcing to his rocked opponent to stand back up. More flush shots connected for Kawaihae, but Hooper showed a lot of heart, especially for only being 18-years old, and ended up surviving the round.
An accidental knee to the cup of Kawaihae caused a pause in the action as soon the second round started. Upon the restart, Hooper pressed forward and attacked a guillotine, but gave up the top position. Hooper worked his way on top and started landing several thudding ground strikes, before working for an RNC as time expired.
Kawaihae looked completely gassed to start the final round, and Hooper could see it too. Right away, Hooper closed the distance and attacked the neck, causing Kawaihae to drop down to the mat. Hooper was all over Kawaihae, landing several strikes and slipping from position to position. Kawaihae showed off tremendous toughness and somehow made it to the final bell.
What a crazy comeback for Hooper:
Kawaihae nearly finished Hooper in the first round: