This weekend’s UFC Vegas 21 card will see a clash between two established fighters from the UFC middleweight division in Eryk Anders vs Darren Stewart. Both athletes are on the cusp of the UFC’s top-15 rankings, meaning the fight may determine which of them is ready for a run at the top of one of the most dynamic divisions in the sport.
Eryk Anders vs Darren Stewart: The Fighters
Eryk “Ya Boi” Anders
Coming off a decision loss to Poland’s Krzysztof Jotko, Anders will hope to bounce back with an impressive performance over Stewart. While Eryk has typically been a highly active fighter over the course of his professional career, the ten-month layoff since his last performance against Jotko is the longest layoff since his debut. The opportunity to hone his skills means we can anticipate some exciting additions to the skillset of the American.
Darren “The Dentist” Stewart
Despite a turbulent start to his UFC career, Londoner Darren Stewart’s (12-6) more recent results have improved considerably, and he is now arguably in his strongest position since joining the organisation in 2016. He has gone 5-2 in his last seven UFC fights, including wins over American Kickboxing Academy’s Deron Winn and Contender Series prospect Maki Pitolo.
However, counterintuitively, it may be Darren’s razor-close loss to Kevin Holland in September 2020 that has helped the most to raise his profile. After a three-round war, Holland’s subsequent breakthrough performances in the division demonstrate that Stewart can hang with the elite and may be ready for a step up in competition.
An exciting striker with a Taekwondo background, Stewart’s power has complimented this in his recent performances with more experienced pacing. This composure demonstrates his development towards a serious prospect in the division, meaning that “The Dentist” is cementing himself as a fighter to watch.
What the Stats Say About Eryk Anders vs Darren Stewart
It’s difficult to separate Stewart and Anders based on stats from their previous fights. They are similar in virtually all metrics, with Stewart boasting a marginally improved strikes landed per minute and striking defence, whereas Anders’ takedown defence is stronger.
Despite broad equivalencies, one potentially meaningful statistical difference is strikes absorbed per minute. On average, Stewart absorbs 2.82 strikes per minute, compared to Anders’ 4.18, a substantial increase in favour of “The Dentist”, according to UFC Stats. Both powerful strikers with multiple UFC knockouts, landing first may be the key to victory, and the stats give a clear edge to Stewart.
Official Prediction: Darren Stewart by unanimous decision.
Who do you see winning the Eryk Anders vs Darren Stewart fight? Let us know your prediction in the comments below!
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