Nick “Notorious” Newell: Top 5 MMA Finishes

Nick Newell (aka “Notorious”), was born March 17, 1986 in Milford, Connecticut, USA. He is a mixed martial artist with an impressive 16-4 record, and is a current Bellator lightweight contender.

Newell (now 35), was born with congenital amputation of his left arm and learned to use the stump to grasp items and perform tasks as a hand normally would.

Newell was involved in sports from a young age participating in football and baseball before later taking up wrestling, which he described to be “the hardest thing I had done in my life”. He actually considered quitting, but his mother encouraged him to keep going.

After graduating from high school and college, Newell was able to accumulate over 300 wins in his wrestling career, which set him up for a successful transition to MMA. The amazing and inspirational story of Newell is detailed in the film based on his life “Notorious Nick” which captures the real-life drama of his incredible triumph against adversity.

His extensive background in wrestling bolstered Newell’s MMA career, and he combined the ability to take opponents to the ground and control them with a Jiu-Jitsu black belt that came to his aid in 11 of his 16 wins. This gave a 69% submission win rate, with his other 5 victories being via 2 KO/TKOS and 3 via decision.

Newell’s professional career started in 2009 against Daniel Ford, where he would TKO Ford in the first round; Newell would then put together 5 straight first-round finishes before signing with XFC.

Notorious won his debut fight in XFC in the first round taking him to 6 straight first-round stoppages; Newell went on to a 3-0 start in XFC before challenging the Lightweight XFC Champion, Eric Reynolds.

Newell would be crowned champion as he defeated Reynolds in just 82 seconds. After capturing XFC gold, Newell took his talents to the WSOF, where he would burst onto the scene with 2, first-round wins in the organization. However, he would suffer his first career loss against Justin Gaethje, former WSOF Champion and interim UFC champion.

Nevertheless, Newell would bounce back and put together 3 straight wins taking him to Dana White’s Contender Series for a chance at a UFC contract; unfortunately, Nick would come out on the losing side of a unanimous decision.

After suffering his second career defeat, Newell would get back on track with a first-round submission against Antonio Castillo Jr., earning him a shot under Bellator’s banner.

In his debut in the prestigious Bellator cage, Newell would make short work of Corey Browning, stopping him in the first round with an excellent debut performance.

However, Newell unfortunately, came up on the losing end of 2 very close split-decision losses. With one more fight on his Bellator contract; who will he fight next and will he sign another contract? We can’t wait to find out!

So now you have a background into the unique life story of the one-armed fighter’s career, let’s take a look at Notorious Nick Newell’s Top 5 MMA Finishes! (in descending order)

5. Vs. Keon Caldwell – WSOF 4 (Aug. 10, 2013)

After winning the XFC Championship, Newell earned his spot in the World Series of Fighting (WSOF) as he debuted against Keon Caldwell – looking to remain undefeated and take his record to a perfect 10-0.

At 0:30 into round 1 of the contest, Newell is knocked to the ground and tries to grab Caldwell’s leg, looking for a takedown. At the minute mark, he’s able to complete the takedown, however only managing to keep Caldwell down briefly.

At 01:45 into the round, Newell judo throws Caldwell to the ground, but Caldwell quickly scrambles back to his feet, but not for long, as at 02:30, Newell lands yet another takedown.

Notorious quickly transitions to side control and then locks in a constricting guillotine choke as he rolls in, tightening his grip. This forces Caldwell to tap at 02:53 of round 1.

This was an amazing debut taking Notorious to 10-0 with 3 consecutive stoppage wins, making him ready to take on the WSOF elite.

4. Vs. Sabah Fadai – WSOF 7 (Dec. 7, 2013)

After an outstanding debut fight in WSOF, Notorious Nick looked to make it 2-0 in the organization and 11-0 in his overall career as he took on Sabah Fadai.

After a feeling-out process, Newell jumps in for a diving takedown 50 seconds in, but Fadai defends well before Newell switches his attention to Fadai’s neck, fastening on a standing guillotine to compress Fadai’s neck. This causes him to tap at just 81 seconds of round 1.

This gave Newell the third-fastest stoppage of his career, and continued his 11-fight unbeaten streak.

3. Vs. Denis Hernandez – XFC 15 (Dec. 3, 2011)

XFC 15 was renamed “Tribute” after the passing of Nick’s friend and fellow XFC competitor, Abi Mestre who was killed in a motorcycle accident. Mestre was Newell’s close friend and teammate who joined Nick the previous year at the open try-outs for the XFC.

In honour of his long-time friend, Newell would put on one the best performances of his career, and his second-fastest stoppage to date.

In round 1, Newell immediately closes the distance and begins throwing a barrage of strikes as he presses Hernandez up against the cage, and at 0:20, gets Hernandez to the ground.

Notorious Nick works from Hernandez’s full guard and fires down heavy artillery until, just over a minute in, clenches onto a heel hook and quickly gets the tap at 01:11 of round 1.

In honour of his late friend Abi Mestre, Newell put on a great show taking him to 6-0, giving him 6 straight first round stoppages.

2. Vs. Corey Browning – Bellator 225 (Aug. 24, 2019)

In his Bellator debut, Newell took on Corey Browning, and it would only take a round for Newell to show Bellator fans his superior skill set.

At 0:25 in, both fighters begin to unload, and Newell is able to land multiple powerful right hooks that land flush. Browning storms forward, entering the clinch, but at 0:45, Newell gets the fight to the ground.

Newell tries to latch on to a guillotine choke; however, Browning does well to keep him in his half guard to prevent him from taking mount to accentuate the squeeze.

Nick releases the choke and is able to transition to the crucifix position and begins to unload heavy strikes.

At 3 minutes, Newell opts to try and finish the fight via arm triangle as he isolates Browning’s arm and begins to constrict the choke causing Browning to tap at 03:15 of round 1.

It only took Newell 3 minutes to introduce himself to the Bellator crowd, and once again prove that anything is possible with hard work, commitment, and dedication.

1. Vs. Eric Reynolds – XFC 21 (Dec. 7, 2012)

After an 8-0 start to his professional career, Newell took on his biggest test yet against Eric Reynolds for the XFC lightweight championship.

In round 1, Newell comes out firing devastating leg kicks and at 0:40, engages a clinch, and is able to get Reynolds’ back before suplexing him to the ground, and at 1:00, takes Reynolds back.

As Newell clasps Reynolds’ back, he begins to lock on to a rear-naked choke, and Reynolds tries to stand to break the grip, but to no avail as he falls back down. Newell finishes cinching the choke in further, causing Reynolds to tap at 01:22 of round 1.

This incredible 82-second victory took Newell to 9-0, crowning him Xtreme Fighting Championships king of the lightweight division.

So there we have it folks, 5 of Nick Newell’s best MMA finishes!

Considering the challenge of fighting with one-arm, he yet possesses a notable, 16-4 record so far, including 2 TKO/KO and 11 submissions. Is there possibly a more inspirational story in the MMA world given it’s a sport that’s demanding enough with two arms? What’s your favourite Notorious Nick fight moment from the list above?

Check out our review of “Notorious Nick”, if you’d like to see his special story come to life (now available on Amazon)!

Which fighter would you like to see get KFK’d next? Let us know in the comments below; Like, share and join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram!

GOT A DREAM WORTH FIGHTING FOR? THEN TAKEDOWN THOSE WELL-WORN EXCUSES IN THE KINGDOM of FU with our Top 5 MMA series, including Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Top 5 pre-UFC Finishes, The NEW Lightweight King of 2021, The Rise of Chinese MMA Fighters, check out what’s on the mind of Jorge Masvidal, and Leon Edwards, as well as our exclusive ONE Championship interviews with Brandon Vera, Eduard Folayang, Thanh Le, and Martin Nguyen.


Joe Petrozzi

Joe Petrozzi is currently studying Sports and Exercise Science in his final year at Staffordshire University. He is interested in all types of martial arts combat, and has been since a young age after his dad introduced him to MMA. He is specifically engrossed with the psychology of being a fighter and the mind of a combat athlete.

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