For almost three entire rounds, Rountree (8-3, 1 NC) showed off the standup game that made him an intriguing prospect coming out of The Ultimate Fighter 23, picking Anders (11-4) apart with leg kicks and flooring him multiple times with jaw-rattling punches. There was no doubt who would win the decision, the only question was by how wide a margin. All three judges scored the fight 30-26 for Rountree.
Post-fight, Rountree credited a recent training visit to Thailand with taking his striking to the next level. The proof was in the pudding.
Anders looked completely lost as to how to approach Rountree, giving Rountree all the openings he needed to establish the pace and distance however he wanted. Rountree obliterated Anders’s lead leg in round one, which was just an appetizer for what was to come.
In round two, Rountree landed multiple knockdowns, repeatedly catching Anders with punches and hooks that sliced through the former Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker’s defenses and put him down hard on the mat. Referee Jason Herzog kept a close eye on the action to see if it needed to be stopped, but Anders stayed active and gave enough of an indication that he wanted the bout to continue.
Rountree took his foot of the pedal slightly in round three, though by then it was already a blowout and he still showed no mercy when it came to kicking Anders in the leg. The limb underwent a sickly change of color by the time the bout was over.
Anders was competing at 205 pounds in the UFC for the second time, his first on a full camp. His last light heavyweight outing, a short-notice call, took place at UFC Sao Paulo last September and also ended with him losing via TKO to top contender Thiago Santos. He has now lost three straight after winning 11 of his first 12 fights.
Coming off of the first knockout loss of his career, Rountree is back on the rise and he has now won four of his last five fights (excluding a unanimous decision loss to Michal Oleksiejczuk that was later overturned to a no contest when Oleksiejczuk tested positive for a banned substance).