While Nick Newell was the story ahead of Bellator 232, fighting at home on the first fight of a new, multi-fight deal, Manny Muro was happy to play spoiler.
Former WSOF title challenger Nick Newell’s story is well known at this point. His talents in the cage are undeniable, but he was never given a fair shot in the majors. Until Bellator gave him a trial run earlier this summer, following a failed shot on the Contender Series. At Bellator 232, Newell was back in action, on the main card against Manny Muro.
Newell had won both his fights in 2019, split between the CES MMA and Bellator banners. Muro, meanwhile, was coming in off a win in the regional scene. He also held a previous win in Bellator.
Muro started the fight swinging, but Newell landed his right hand, knocking Muro back. Muro then attempted to take Newell down, working from the back. He would land it, but Newell popped right back up.
Working in a clinch against the cage, Newell would lock in a guillotine, and Muro dropped to the ground. He’d try to hang on while sitting upright, but was caught for some time, mostly just riding it out. Muro survived, but had Newell on top of him, peppering him with short punches. Muro controlled Newell’s right wrist, but showing that his disability wasn’t about to slow him down, Newell landed punches to the body with his left — despite lacking a hand on that side. Newell then worked his way to the back, forcing Muro to turn, only to eat elbows from the left arm of Newell. Muro would reverse in the final seconds of the round, but didn’t have any time to work.
Round two had Muro clinch almost immediately, pressing Newell up against the cage. A questionable choice, as Newell had him beat on the ground in the first. Not surprisingly, when they did hit the ground, it was Newell taking the back. One hook in, Newell worked to flatten Muro out for a choke, but Muro climbed back up, with Newell draped over his back. Newell would slide off, then latch on to a leg, working the takedown. Muro, however, showed solid defense, controlling the ankle of Newell. Muro worked some elbows to the body, but Newell was able to power back up, without ever having let go of Muro’s leg. Newell would put himself in harm’s way off a late takedown attempt, allowing Muro to control from the back, but as at the end of the first round, Muro ran out of time.
Muro opened the third round with a takedown, but Nick Newell once again did not stay down long. However after a lengthy clinch, Muro used a body lock to get Newell own once again. Newell powered up with Muro on his back, and shook him off. Again, however, Muro was in control, taking down Newell a third, then fourth time. Each time, Muro took the back, and would manage to get his hooks in on the last takedown. Newell was looking tired. However, despite hunting for the rear-naked choke, Muro couldn’t lock it in. Muro was dominant in the third, Newell in the first. It came down to the second, and when the scores were read, two judges had it for Muro. Much to the displeasure of the Connecticut faithful.
Official Result: Manny Muro def. Nick Newell by split decision (29-28, 27-29, 29-28)