UFC Vegas 21 Results: Eryk Anders vs. Darren Stewart Ends Early Due to Illegal Knee

Darren Stewart and Eryk Anders, UFC Vegas 21
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 13: (R-L) Eryk Anders lands an illegal knee against Darren Stewart of England in a middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on March 13, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Opening up the main card of UFC Vegas 21 on Saturday was a middleweight throwdown featuring Eryk Anders and Darren Stewart. For Anders, it was a chance to get back to work after he was pulled from a short-notice fight in November following a difficult weight cut. England’s Stewart, a.k.a. “The Dentist,” meanwhile, was looking to get a bad taste out of his mouth after losing a split decision to Fighter of the Year Kevin Holland last time out.

Unfortunately, like the Petr Yan vs. Aljamain Sterling fight a week ago, this one ended early due to an illegal knee.

Anders and Stewart came out swinging, with both men throwing heavy leather. Stewart seemed to get the better of the early exchanges, forcing Anders into a takedown attempt. Stewart did an admirable job of maintaining his footing against the former pro football player. But he’d eat a couple of nasty punches moments later, before Anders shot for another takedown attempt. Anders connected with a knee, and several strikes before dropping Stewart with a left! Stewart struggled to his feet, covering up but was eating a ton of punishment. It felt like the bout was seconds from being called, as Anders was tee’ing off on his opponent. But then, the unthinkable — a week after Petr Yan’s knee heard around the world, Anders landed a clearly illegal knee on Stewart.

The doctor was brought in, and despite Stewart wanting to continue, the bout was called off. The end result was a “no decision” (a no contest), based on the fight going less than two rounds and the belief that the blow was not intentional. An unfortunate end to what had been a thrilling fight to that point. And a reminder that fighters need to be aware of when their opponents are grounded at all times.

Quite the shame given how entertaining the fight was to that point. It’s doubtful anyone would complain if the UFC opted to run this one back.

Official Result: Eryk Anders vs. Darren Stewart ends in a No Decision (illegal knee), Round 1, 4:37