2021 is off to a roaring start for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), already featuring such thrilling performances as Dustin Poirier’s stunning knockout of ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor and Max Holloway’s all-time demolition of Calvin Kattar during the promotion’s ABC network debut. March 13th’s Fight Night 187 has been in the news for the past couple of days, as headliner Khamzat Chimaev pulled out of his welterweight contest against Leon Edwards due to lingering health effects caused by COVID-19. Also fighting on the card is Eryk Anders, the former Alabama football linebacker and LFA middleweight champion who is making the walk to the Octagon for the first time in 2021. He is due to compete in a middleweight bout against Darren Stewart at the event in what should be an exciting matchup.
Anders does have a tough task ahead of him in Stewart. The former Crimson Tide standout who boasts a 13-5 professional mixed martial arts record faces a man whose most recent test was a split decision loss to Kevin Holland, who became a name to watch in the middleweight division after a 5-0 2020. The March 13 bout will be Stewart’s first since that contest. These two fighters are a good matchup for one another; both bring tremendous power to the table. Additionally, both are accomplished in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and have competed within the same two UFC weight divisions during their tenure with the promotion (light heavyweight and middleweight).
The main strength Anders will look to exploit is his aforementioned power. He is not someone an opponent even wants to consider giving an opening, as he will send them to the mat without a second thought. He scored his first UFC victory with a brutal knockout almost three minutes into the very first round. In fact, two of his first three wins in the UFC came by knockout, including one of the highlights of his career: a swift, definitive head kick that destroyed Tim Williams and earned Anders Performance of the Night honors. Anders’s power is multidimensional and he can use it in many pivotal ways to jeopardize Darren Stewart’s chances. Another remarkable attribute that Anders can use to his advantage is his never-quit toughness. Obviously, pro fighting isn’t an endeavor one can undertake without a significant amount of tenacity, but Anders takes tenacity and heart to another level. He can handle a tremendous amount of adversity in the Octagon and still keep pushing forward. This will also present a challenge for Stewart, as it would against any opponent, and in a matchup such as this one it is a game-changer.
A victory in the first bout of the year is huge for a fighter. It represents the culmination of a lot of hard work, training, and dedication. Eryk Anders is sure to be ready to take on his 2021 debut with the same tremendous heart, power, strength, and toughness that have helped him become successful. He is well equipped to win at Fight Night 187 against Darren Stewart and make an emphatic statement in his return to competition.