Darren Stewart is best known as a knockout artist but at UFC Vegas 6 he showed that he has submissions in his arsenal as well.
After throwing bombs at Maki Pitolo throughout the opening round of their middleweight fight on the main card, Stewart stuffed a takedown attempt and then wrapped up a nasty guillotine choke to force the tap. The end came at 3:41 in the first round.
It turns out Stewart was fighting with a heavy heart after a close friend was killed recently and he fought to honor him with the win on Saturday night.
“It was a lot,” Stewart said following an emotional victory. “I took the fight on three weeks’ notice. I was done all the crying and I was just angry.”
While the fight ended with a submission, Stewart came out throwing heavy leather as he looked for the knockout in the early exchanges with Pitolo. In return, the Hawaiian did his best to circle away from Stewart’s power hand while trying to find an opening for his own counter strikes.
When he didn’t find a home for his punches, Pitolo altered his game plan as he swooped inside looking for the takedown. To counter the wrestling attack, Stewart latched into the neck and tightened up the guillotine choke as the fighters fell to the ground.
The grimace on Pitolo’s face told the story of the fight as he was finally forced to tap out to the submission.
“I’ve been doing that takedown defense a lot,” Stewart said about the finish. “I didn’t have no hooks or nothing, I just went for it.”
After the UFC London card was cancelled earlier this year, Stewart actually ended up in a short notice fight in Cage Warriors but ultimately lost a decision to Bartosz Fabinski. Now with performance at UFC Vegas 6, Stewart is back on track while moving to 3-1 overall in his past four fights.