Nick Newell isn’t shy about his desire to compete in the UFC. Since debuting in 2009, the lightweight without a fully formed left armed has steamrolled his opponents to the tune of an 11-0 record, and in July he may get to prove his worth in front of a national audience.
WSOF Executive Vice-President Ali Abdel-Aziz has tapped Newell to fight Justin Gaethje for the promotion’s lightweight title this summer, according to a story first reported by Yahoo Sports. Coincidentally, WSOF expects to make its NBC debut around the same time, although a time and venue for the show haven’t been announced.
Newell is a congenital amputee, having been born with a left arm that stops just past his elbow. The condition, however, hasn’t stopped the 28-year-old fighter from working towards his dream of joining the UFC.
All but two of his victories have come by submission and only one has gone past the second round. Since defeating Sabah Fadai via standing guillotine choke at WSOF 7, Newell has campaigned for a title shot against Gaethje. On Tuesday, he got his wish.
Like Newell, Gaethje comes into the unnamed event with an undefeated 11-0 mark. Their difference is in the finish. Nine of his 11 fight ended by knockout and only one was decided by the judges’ scorecards. It will be Gaethje’s first title defense after winning the inaugural lightweight championship from Rich Patishnock at WSOF 8. The 25-year-old southpaw won by TKO just over a minute into his battle with Patishnock.
Last December, Abdel-Aziz announced that WSOF would air two events on NBC with the first slated for the summer. Since signing a three-year deal with NBC in February 2013, the promotion’s fights air exclusively on NBC Sports Network, including this weekend’s WSOF 9 headlined by Steve Carl and Rousimar Palhares.
Despite the given timeframe, Abdel-Aziz wouldn’t disclose whether the Newell-Gaethje fight would air in primetime.
Stay tuned to Scifighting.com as details for WSOF’s July event emerge.