On the night’s preliminary card, England’s Darren Stewart lost out to American Eryk Anders in their light-heavyweight rematch.
The first meeting between the pair had ended in a controversial no contest after an illegal knee from Anders, 34, that left Stewart unable to continue was ruled accidental. But there was no such controversy in the rematch as the pair battled back and forth through a gruelling three-round battle in Arizona.
Despite facing a bigger man, Stewart, 30, nullified Anders’ takedown threat and punished the former college football player with knees to the body in the first round, but the American had the better of the exchanges against the fence in the second.
It set up a crucial final round and, after Stewart landed an initial takedown, Anders managed to reverse position and dominate the remainder of the round to secure a unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-27) on the scorecards.
Also on the preliminary card, Scotland’s Joanne Calderwood narrowly missed out on the scorecards after a back-and-forth battle with fellow women’s flyweight contender Lauren Murphy in their 125-pound bout.
Murphy, 37, edged the first round on two of the three scorecards, then claimed a dominant second round to earn the nod on two of the three scorecards to edge out 34-year-old Calderwood 29-28, 28-29, 29-28 after a spirited battle.