Bellator 225 was an outstanding event that took place this past Saturday night in Bridgeport Connecticut’s Webster Bank Arena. 14 fights were scheduled, and 14 fights took place with not one fight going to the judges. That’s right 14 finishes, 7 submissions, and seven wins by way of KO/TKO. Something we haven’t seen at a major promotion numbered event in I don’t know how long, nor can I recall if ever! The fight that wowed the crowd the most without a doubt was the debut of hometown hero “Notorious” Nick Newell.
I hate to even mention that Nick is a congenital amputee which is why most people know of him and root for him to win. However, this will be the last time I mention it ever! Hopefully, I will start a trend of people discussing Newell strictly for his accolades inside the cage where he is 16-2 as a professional MMA fighter which is all we should be discussing because Newell has certainly earned that respect from us all!
Newell was booked to make his debut against Corey Browning inside the Bellator cage. Browning who was 5-2 coming into the bout had gone 2-0 inside the Bellator cage taking out Kevin “Baby Slice” Ferguson via TKO, and Aaron Chalmers via submission. Both fights Browning was the underdog, and both times he won. So while on paper it looked as if the bout with Newell was a mismatch based on the amount of experience, Browning had proven worthy and able to take on such a high profile fight.
When the bell rang to start the first round you could see, and feel that Newell was on a mission and was not going to be denied a victory on this night, in his big league debut, in front of his hometown crowd.
Newell and Browning met in the center of the cage and felt each other out briefly and then Newell started firing his right hand with accuracy and power, sneaking it through the guard of Browning and landing at will. His striking which many people underestimate led him to a takedown. Once on top Newell went to work. Looking first to secure a guillotine from the top, but the hold eluded him so he transitioned to an arm triangle which he locked in tight forcing Browning, who never mounted any real offense to tap at a minute and thirty-five seconds of the first round.
In his post-fight interview Newell acknowledged his “day ones”, and his doubters who said he didn’t belong in the big leagues when he said: “Well Guess What Baby, I’m In Bellator Now!” A proclamation you could hear in his voice that truly meant the world to him.
He came, he saw, he conquered on the biggest stage of his career. So what’s next?
Newell and his management will be sitting with Scott Coker and the powers that be at Bellator very soon from my understanding to try and put together a deal that will work for everyone. Newell is a hot commodity at 16-2 and wants to keep the momentum going.
Nick Newell wants to be the best in the world. The only way that happens is if he is given the opportunity to fight the best guys in the sport. At 16-2 he should absolutely get a contract, and some high caliber opponents to test him, something Newell would welcome with a smile on his face.
I have watched Newell defy the odds since he debuted with the XFC in 2011 where he subbed Dennis Hernandez in round one via heel hook, live on AXStv Fights, all the way to his World Title victory against Eric Reynolds one year later becoming the XFC Lightweight World Champion. I was there at XFC as their cage announcer and the one thing I learned about Newell is never doubt him, or tell him he can’t do something that just motivates an already motivated man like Nick Newell to make you eat your words, and he will feed them back to you with a grin on his face!
Hopefully, Newell will get a multiple fight deal from Bellator, or maybe the UFC may reconsider signing this talented free agent. I do know that whoever puts Newell under contract will be getting an absolute warrior to fight in their promotion, and who doesn’t want an ass kicking , crowd pleasing draw on their roster?
Christopher James has been in the MMA industry for 15 years, Working as a ring announcer for promotions like the XFC, Island Fights, Combat Night and Fight Nights Global during his career. Chris’ love for the sport and the athletes that partake in it led him to writing and doing face to face interviews with the athletes he admired and respected. Chris isn’t conventional by any stretch of the imagination, he has his own style, and takes pride in not being a “cookie-cutter” member of the media. Unique and sometimes controversial takes are what he brings to the table, forcing folks to think a little differently about the world of MMA. He also has a love for music as he has been a dj for 25 years and his love for music gets brought to the MMA world when he gets his guests to sing on his weekly show Cage Side with Christopher James which can be seen Wednesday nights on FACEBOOK LIVE, and soon via podcast.