It's been an exciting season thus far as Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series continues to produce numerous new fighters for the UFC roster.
With an astonishing finishing rate as well, the fights on the Contender Series have been nothing short of action-packed, with every athlete doing whatever it takes to get noticed by UFC President Dana White and the UFC matchmakers sitting cageside.
The latest installment of the Contender Series will feature the long awaited debut of Nick Newell, who has been itching for his shot in the UFC for several years.
The big men will also go into battle this week, with a pair of fights taking place at heavyweight and light heavyweight.
With that said, let's take a look at the matchups on the card for the latest installment of Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series.
NICK NEWELL VS. ALEX MUNOZ
In what will undoubtedly become one of the most watched fights in Contender Series history, Nick Newell will make his debut against undefeated prospect Alex Munoz.
Born with a congenital amputation of his left arm, Newell has been an athlete almost his entire life after he was inspired by Jim Abbott, who had one hand and went on to have a very successful career as a pitcher in Major League Baseball. Newell eventually found wrestling in high school and continued to grapple on the mats through college as well. That eventually led to Newell discovering mixed martial arts and he's put together a very impressive 14-1 record over the past nine years.
Newell is a ferocious fighter with 11 career finishes, including numerous knockouts and several submissions on his resume as well.
A 4-0 lightweight, Munoz comes to the Contender Series from Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, where he trains alongside the likes of former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt, as well as welterweight prospect Sage Northcutt. Munoz has earned three of his four victories by knockout or submission, so he'll definitely be going for the finish when he steps in to face Newell this Tuesday.
Newell knows what he's capable of, aims for finish on DWTNCS | Join UFC FIGHT PASS to watch
JIM CRUTE VS. CHRIS BIRCHLER
Light heavyweights Jim Crute and Chris Birchler will face off in another featured bout on the latest installment of the Contender Series.
Crute comes into the card with a perfect 7-0 record fighting out of Australia. Crute has finished four of his seven opponents with a well-rounded skill set where he fluidly mixes his striking with his grappling in every contest.
Meanwhile, Birchler hails from New Jersey and trains with respected coach Paul Carnicella. Birchler has faced solid competition throughout his career, including his most recent bout, which came against former Ultimate Fighter standout Matt Hamill.
Davis hails from New York and trains out of Florida with the majority of his career spent competing in Island Fights, a promotion that has sent several fighters to the UFC, including Mike Perry and Chase Sherman. Davis is a very well rounded competitor who has finished all five of his past opponents by knockout, so don't expect him to fight to sway the judges in this matchup.
As for Yusuff, he's a fighter coming out of Team Lloyd Irvin, which is a grappling-based system, but this 25-year old prospect is best known for his devastating striking. Yusuff is very heavy-handed with several knockouts on his record to prove it, and he'll definitely try to make Davis the latest addition to his list of victims. Yusuff has also competed on some of the biggest regional cards in the sport, including a bout in Titan FC, so he's no stranger to the spotlight as he steps into the Contender Series.
Hughes trains out of Strong Style MMA, the same gym that produced former UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, so he's definitely got a good training partner to get him ready for this fight. Hughes has faced good competition throughout his career and he's currently riding a three-fight win streak, with his last two bouts taking place in LFA.
Appelt is a veteran of the regional fight scene while being one of the only heavyweights to train out of Team Alpha Male in Sacramento. Appelt has never shied away from a challenge and he'll step into this fight off three straight wins - all by first round knockout with none of those bouts lasting past the two-minute mark.
Hooper will join the Contender Series as one of the youngest competitors to ever step foot inside the cage at just 18 years of age. Hooper may be young but he doesn't lack experience, with five wins in his professional career and four of those fights ending by submission or knockout. Hooper has also been extremely active since turning pro, with his fight on the Contender Series being his fourth of the year already.
As for Kawaihae, he fights out of Hawaii and will also be one of the younger fighters to ever compete on the show at just 20 years of age. Kawaihae is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and has also trained alongside UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway in the past. Kawaihae definitely has that Hawaiian fighting spirit in him and he looks like a real prospect to watch in 2018 and beyond. First things first, however, as he has to face Hooper in a featherweight clash tonight.