ONTARIO, Calif. -- Nick Newell is on a quest to prove that he should be recognized as a fast-rising lightweight contender first and a fighter who has overcome a handicap second.
The Milford, Conn. made plenty of new believers in his World Series of Fighting debut on Saturday night at Citizens Business Bank Arena. Newell overwhelmed former "Ultimate Fighter" competitor Keon Caldwell before finishing him with a rear-naked choke at 2:07 of the first round.
"I came out there to put on a good show," said Newell. "He was a lot quicker and stronger than I thought he'd be."
Newell, a congenital amputee who was born without a left arm below the elbow, overwhelmed Caldwell with his combination of wrestling and blazing speed. He transitioned from his final takedown to a tight guillotine choke, which caused Caldwell to tap.
"I lost my footing in the beginning and I actually got a little rattled when I went to throw him," Newell said. "I caught a bit of an accidental headbutt but that was it. It was a great honor to fight in front of this crowd and all the troops that came out to support me. Can't wait to do it again."
Newell improved to 10-0 on his career with the victory and earned a spot in the upcoming WSOF lightweight tournament.
Caldwell, for his part wouldn't make excuses for his loss.
"There is no way I could ever, ever envision this fight ending like it did," Caldwell said. "Never. I just got caught up in the moment. It happens. I was never hurt and I'll be back but this is very disappointing."