LAS VEGAS -- Nick Newell came up short in his bid for a UFC contract, but he certainly didn't waste his long-awaited shot.
Newell (14-2), a congenital amputee with a left arm that extends just past his elbow, suffered a unanimous decision defeat to Alex Munoz (5-0) at Dana White's "Tuesday Night Contender Series" in a bout he hoped would land him an exclusive deal with the UFC.
All three judges scored it a clean 30-27 sweep for Munoz, a 28-year-old prospect out of Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California.
Newell, 32, has earned a significant following in mixed martial arts during his nine-year professional career. In 2012, UFC president White stated that he would never consider signing Newell to a deal, saying it was too dangerous for a fighter missing a portion of his arm to compete at the highest level.
A Connecticut native, Newell continued to push for a shot at the UFC, despite White's comments. Those efforts finally materialized in a fight offer on the DWTNCS during a face-to-face meeting between White, Newell and agent Ali Abdelaziz in Las Vegas.
Newell had his opportunities against Munoz but couldn't quite seal the deal. He appeared to hurt him with a right hand to the temple in the third round and latched on to a promising guillotine attempt moments later. Munoz managed to escape the position, however, and hang on for the win.
Newell suffered a bloodied nose in the first round and a cut under his left eye in the second. He continued to push forward and look for the necessary finish late in the fight, however, at one point screaming in Munoz's direction as blood ran into his mouth.
It is Newell's first loss since he suffered a TKO defeat to former WSOF champion and current UFC lightweight Justin Gaethje in 2014.