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UFC on ESPN 6 results: Darren Stewart hands Deron Winn his first loss in close split decision

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Darren Stewart has knocked Deron Winn from the ranks of unbeaten fighters.

The British slugger used his boxing to hurt the highly touted prospect in several exchanges on the feet, while constantly making the wrestler work very hard during every second they spent on the ground. Ultimately, two judges sided with the damage done by Stewart with scores of 29-28 with the third official going for Winn with an identical 29-28 so the fight ended in a split decision.

“I feel great. Big up Deron, he’s a warrior,” Stewart said after moving to 4-1 in his past five fights.

Almost immediately after the fighters were released from their corners, Winn wasted no time looking for a takedown against the taller fighter in Stewart, who was definitely seeking a knockout on the feet. Winn was tenacious with his wrestling before eventually dragging Stewart down to the ground.

Winn maintained constant pressure working from the top even as Stewart tried to scramble free to work back to a standing position. Before the opening round ended, Stewart did manage to fire off some short elbows from the bottom with at least one opening a cut on Winn that saw blood start to dribble down his forehead.

The relentless takedowns continued into the second round with Winn planting Stewart on the canvas with the British middleweight trying to fight his way off the ground. While Winn was devoted to a wrestling heavy attack, Stewart was able to work his way up multiple times as he looked to exhaust the former Olympic hopeful.

When he did manage to get the fight up to the feet, Stewart cracked Winn with a couple of stiff shots including a powerful right hand that was the hardest punch landed through the first 10 minutes.

Knowing that Winn was losing steam, Stewart came out light on his feet in the third round, tossing out a left jab followed by a strong right hand in succession. Winn eventually got the fight back down to the ground again but each time he managed it, Stewart made him pay by peppering away at him from the bottom and then scrambling back to his feet again.

After three hard-fought rounds, the judges didn’t have an easy job deciding the victor, which was reflected in the scorecards but Stewart did enough to secure the win.

Stewart has been on a strong run lately with his only loss in his past five fights coming by split decision to another undefeated prospect in Edmen Shahbazyan.