For the second week in a row, a fight in the UFC has ended after an illegal knee strike.
At UFC 259, Aljamain Sterling became bantamweight champion following a devastating illegal knee from Petr Yan and Saturday night saw Darren Stewart take a similar shot from Eryk Anders that resulted in the ringside physician declaring him unable to continue.
While Sterling won his fight via disqualification, referee Herb Dean decided that the knee strike thrown by Anders wasn’t intentional, which led to a no decision as the result the opening bout on the main card at UFC Vegas 21.
Prior to the stoppage, Anders was enjoying a size advantage but Stewart showed no fear stepping into the pocket and throwing punches with the former Alabama football player. Stewart’s speed combined with his power helped touch the chin several times in the opening round, which led to Anders working from the clinch and looking for the takedown.
Despite eating some hard shots early, Anders was able to turn the tables after trapping Stewart against the cage and then backing out to unload a barrage of strikes in succession. The series of shots eventually dropped Stewart to the canvas and it appeared momentarily that the fight might be stopped right there.
Stewart somehow survived but the attack continued from Anders until he connected with the knee strike while the British middleweight was still on the ground, which led to the stoppage.
It’s a disappointing ending to what started out as an exciting showdown as Anders and Stewart will both go home with a no contest added to their respective records.