Fight 1: Eryk Anders (13-5) vs Darren Stewart (12-6-1)
Round one saw Anders on the offensive trying to take Stewart down. When Anders was able to get Stewart on the ground, it wasn’t for long. Still, Anders kept the attacks coming and got Steward to the ground time and time again. The referee, Herb Dean, let the fight continue and Stewart worked his way back up. It wasn’t until Anders kneed Stewart that the fight was stopped. The doctor called the fight and it was ruled a no contest. The downed knee didn’t look malicious and was defensible. Hopefully we’ll get to see this pairing again, as it was a compelling fight before it was cut short.
Fight 2: Manel Kape (15-5) vs Matheus Nicolau (15-3-1)
Nicolau took the fight to the ground and had an early guillotine locked in, but Kape was able to slip out and get the fight back to the feet. That didn’t last long however, as Nicolau shot a single leg and took Kape to the ground again. Despite some strong recoveries from Kape, Nicolau still dominated the first round.
Kape came out strong in the second round, hitting Nicolau with an uppercut that dazed the Brazilian. Kape maintained the pressure, but Nicolau was able to recover and land some powerful strikes of his own. Kape continued to push the pace and won the second round.
The third round began at 1-1 on the scorecards. Nicolau landed more significant strikes in the first three minutes and even managed to temporarily bring Kape to the ground with a leg kick. Kape landed strikes as well, but failed to put combinations together the way Nicolau had in the first half of the round. Kape landed a big knee to finish up the round.
The fight came down to a split decision in favor of Matheus Nicolau. Kape was clearly disappointed with the decision, as he had been the favorite to win. Still, it was a well-deserved victory given the work and strategy Nicolau maintained in all three rounds.
Fight 3: Jonathan Martinez (13-3) vs. Davey Grant (12-4)
Both fighters came out looking sharp in the opening round, landing solid strikes and mixing it up with some creative movements. Martinez landed a left hook late into the round that dropped Grant; the fight looked like it could have ended there, but Grant hung on.
The second round started the same, with both fighters coming out with high energy and exchanging some impressive blows. Halfway through the round, Grant landed a solid cross that stunned Martinez. Martinez was able to stay in the game a bit longer, but Grant landed a killer left hook that knocked Martinez out cold. Davy Grant extended his fight streak to three with his knockout finish over Martinez.
Fight 4: Dan Ige (14-3) vs. Gavin Tucker (13-1)
Dan Ige reminded people why he is ranked the 9th featherweight in the world with a knockout in 22 seconds. Ige fired a straight right and landed it on Tucker’s chin, putting the Canadian on the ground and leaving him there. Ige definitely won the knockout of the night with this performance, adding to his already impressive resume. Ige is also known by his nickname of “50k”, and I’m sure Dana will be writing that bonus check for him to take home to Hawaii.
Fight 5: Misha Cirkunov (15-5) vs. Ryan Spann (18-5)
Spann came out strong and landed a straight right that dropped Cirkunov. The fight looked like it was over before it even began, but Spann let Cirkunov up, not wanting to get caught in Spann’s gaurd. Spann jumped on Cirkunov again and landed a strong hook to the side of his head, dropping him and ending the fight in a TKO for Ryan Spann. Spann should move up in the Light Heavyweight rankings after this impressive performance.
Main Event: Leon Edwards (18-3) vs. Belal Muhammad (18-3)
Leon Edwards was originally supposed to fight up-and-coming star Khamzat Chimaev in what Dana White was calling a dream matchup. Unfortunately, Chimaev tested positive for COIVD-19 and the fight was cancelled, leaving Edwards without a partner. Luckily for him, Belal Muhammad stepped in.
Edwards started the fight strong, landing a solid 1-2 combo before tying Belal up and attempting a takedown. Belal managed to stuff the takedown, but Edwards landed a head kick that stunned the Chicago native. Even after all that, Belal was able to recover and survived the round. Edwards won the round handedly.
At the start of the second round, Edwards threw a high kick while sticking his hand out, resulting in a brutal eye poke to Belal. The eye poke was certainly an accident but seemed to cause a lot of damage to Belal, whose eye was swollen and bleeding. The doctor called the fight and Herb Dean ruled it a no contest. It was a tragic end to the fight, both for Leon’s attempt to earn a title shot after a long layoff and for Belal’s attempt at a statement victory.
Overall, it was a great card that ended in an unfortunate injury. We hope to see a quick return to the cage for both Belal and Leon for a good clean fight. In the meantime, this is a massive blow for the Welterweight division. While Kamaru Usman is holding the belt, the Nigerian Nightmare is quickly running out of contenders after his third round TKO of Gilbert Burns. This bout tonight was supposed to help make the decision for a number one contender more clear. For now, we will now have to wait to see who the next contender will be.