(Tampa, FL) December 2nd will be the culmination of a lot of hard work and will be the biggest night in Nick Newell’s young MMA career. Born with a condition called congenital amputation, Newell has been overcoming odds his entire life. ‘Notorious’ is now seeking his sixth straight win and looking to honor his fallen teammate, Abi Mestre, at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, FL live on HDNet.
Newell is fighting in place of Mestre who was awarded an XFC contract last year before a tragic motorcycle accident claimed the life of the young fighter. Last month it was announced that XFC President John Prisco had awarded Mestre’s XFC contract to Newell and had placed him on XFC 15 which was later renamed XFC ‘Tribute’.
According to Newell, he doesn’t feel the pressure of being in the spotlight and is eager to show he belongs in the XFC cage. “It’s an honor to be fighting for the XFC but I don’t feel any pressure with my fight at ‘Tribute’. I have competed for so many years in wrestling and I have had highs in tournaments and I’ve had lows where I’ve lost matches I wasn’t supposed to lose. I’ve pretty much been through it all. I don’t have anything to prove to anyone. I’m going to go out there and give it my all. I’ve done everything I can to get the win.”
“It will be an emotional night,” Newell concedes. “I’m happy they are doing a tribute to my friend Abi. But it won’t be the first time I’ve fought since he died. I’m always emotional when I fight. I’ve worked so hard and it’s a culmination of how hard I’ve worked and I let it all go after the fight. I kind of hold it all in and stay focused on the prize.”
Standing in Newell’s way will be Denis Hernandez, a man who has finished three of his last four opponents. With slick submission skills and knockout power Hernandez has gained a reputation in Florida as one of the top lightweights in the state.
“I respect Denis’s submission skills but I’m not necessarily worried,” said Newell. “He’s a purple belt but so am I. I tap out black belts in tournaments all the time. I have wrestled in college and I’m a good striker. I’ll be ready for anything he has coming my way and I’ll be prepared.”
“Denis is a great fighter and comes from a great camp and will be prepared but I’ve been working hard for years to get to this point to get a fight like this on national TV and I’m going to do what I have to do to come home with the win. I feel like I’m peaking at the right moment and I think he will have to have the best night of his life to beat me. When that cage door closes I’m coming for blood. I have an awesome game plan and it’s going to be my night.”
In addition to Newell vs. Hernandez, XFC 15 ‘Tribute’ will be headlined by Eric Reynolds vs. Jonatas Novaes and will feature former Ultimate Fighter stars Charlie Rader vs. Corey Hill.