For his first fight in 10 months this past March at UFC Fight Night, light-heavyweight Eryk Anders was looking to shake off a loss in his last fight in 2020, but instead had to go through another instance of non-victory.
Late into the first round of his bout versus Darren Stewart, Anders landed an accidental illegal knee, causing a halt to the bout and ultimately forcing it to end in a no contest when Stewart was unable to continue.
“I think I was able to impose my will and I sensed the end was near and just got a little overzealous; a little bloodlust; got carried away a little bit,” Anders told MMAWeekly.com. “I thought (Stewart) was on the way up, and that’s why I threw the knee, but obviously he wasn’t.
“The thing is, if that same knee lands a minute into the fight, Darren takes his time and the fight continues, but because of the onslaught that he ensued in the first four minutes of the fight, of course he’s not going to be coherent enough to answer the doctor’s questions and stuff like that.”
Following two straight wins in 2019, for Anders to have to go through a loss then a no contest in his last two bouts with nearly a year off in between them due to the novel coronavirus, has him less than happy.
“It’s super annoying to lose the only fight in 2020 and then the only fight I’ve fought (in 2021) to be a no contest; especially a fight that I was winning,” said Anders. “I think I fight better when I’m consistent, in the groove of things, in camp and stuff like that. I’d like to put on a better performance than last time.”
On June 12 in Glendale, Arizona, Anders (13-5) will look to get a definitive finish when he rematches Stewart (12-6) in preliminary 205-pound bout at UFC 263.
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“I think every fight has a life and history of it its own,” Anders said. “I don’t think just because of what happened last time happens again.
“I do think I’ll still win the fight, but we’re fighting at 205 pounds, so he’ll be more durable and maybe it goes three rounds, but I’m always trying to finish the fight and will do so at the first opportune moment.”
After hopefully picking up a win in June 12, Anders would like to have some time off before returning to close out his 2021 on a high note.
“I want to fight at least one more time before the end of the year,” said Anders. “I want to take a little bit of time off after having back to back camps; it’s a pretty grueling pace. I want to go on vacation, take the summer off, take vacation with my wife and kids, then in the fall and winter get back into it.”